Posted by Chris Hughes on January 08, 2016
I lucked out in finding FairVote when looking for post-law school jobs. My career advisor at NYU forwarded FairVote’s website on to me right as my final semester of law school was starting and my hopes of finding a job in voting rights were dwindling, fast.
Reading through the reams of information FairVote has on its site and seeing that they were hiring brightened the winter doldrums – an organization dedicated to righting America’s perpetually lopsided democracy and doing so in a unique, innovative way was just what I needed to brighten up the long city winter. I filled out the fellowship application immediately, but got stuck just before I finished it on the requirement for a piece of writing meant for a general audience. I didn’t have one of those, so I ignored that requirement and sent in two legal memos. (Don’t tell anyone.)
My interest in politics and democracy may have been inevitable. I was born in Northeast Ohio, grew up in Cincinnati and Cleveland, and went to college in Miami, Florida. I don’t know if there’s a single year of my life from birth to age 22 where I wasn’t subject to some kind of presidential campaign stop. That means I was either going to love politics and democracy or loathe them with every fiber of my being. I’m the former, and my sister is decidedly the latter.
As with anything you love, I mostly fixate on the things I wish I could fix about American democracy (that’s how that works, right?). FairVote fixates on all the same things I do: legislative entrenchment and the attendant increase in polarization, the lack of true representation in government (gender, race, religion, the list goes on), and the fact that there is no explicit right to vote in the constitution. I enjoy coming to work and spending my days reading, writing, learning, and talking about electoral reforms. Wherever I end up at the end of my fellowship, I can take that knowledge and, hopefully, spread FairVote’s message of the need to update our democracy.
The chance to work up-close with the reforms FairVote is championing, to work every day with a group of dedicated, intelligent, energetic, and friendly people on desperately needed reforms to American Democracy is unique, and I plan on taking full advantage of it during the next year. I’m looking forward to everything I’ll learn in the months to come.
Chris is the 2015 Legal Fellow at FairVote. Learn more about FairVote's Democracy Fellowships and Internship opportunities on our Employment page.