My name is Carlos and I’m from San Juan, Puerto Rico. At present, I am a rising senior at Haverford College on the Political Science track. I first heard about FairVote through my American Politics class at Haverford as we discussed the topic of electoral reform. I learned that the organization was dedicated to strengthening American democracy by making the electoral process more representative. FairVote’s mission really resonated with me, seeing that Puerto Rican voters like me and my family have been disenfranchised and have virtually no say in the electoral process of the country we belong to.
At FairVote I am working as a Research Intern. As such, I hope to shed a brighter light on voter disenfranchisement and marginalized political voices, particularly in US territories such as Guam, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico. I share FairVote’s belief that American democracy should live up to the expectations of all of its citizens, including the 3.5 million US citizens residing on the island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans have served in the American military in especially high percentages since World War I and yet they have been denied the right to vote in the general elections for their commander in chief on the sole basis of the area of their residency. In addition, despite the fact that many aspects of Puerto Rican life are decided in Congress, Puerto Rico lacks fair congressional representation, sending only one non-voting resident commissioner to the House of Representatives. The aforementioned leaves the people of Puerto Rico with a sense of political exclusion that should have no place in our democracy, and serves as yet another reason for FairVote to push for reforming the electoral process.
My time working for FairVote will span a little over a month. In the meantime, I will be conducting research, raising awareness about longstanding voter discrimination within the electoral system, and collaborating with fellow interns in a proportional representation project, in which I hope to improve my networking skills. I am confident this experience will give me further insight regarding my future career path and I look forward to working for a more inclusive and perfect union.
Carlos is a 2016 Research Intern at FairVote. Learn more about FairVote's Democracy Fellowships and Internship opportunities on our Employment page.