Growing up in the DC area I have been surrounded by politics for my entire life. Whether it was family, friends or teachers, everyone seemed to have an opinion--democrat, republican or independent--and everyone always seemed to disagree. Despite this initial disagreement, what everyone seems to agree on is that the electoral system is, in most ways, breaking down. This 2016 election season shows, more than ever, that something is deeply wrong with American politics. It goes beyond the candidates and parties involved. Something needs to be changed with the way that we are voting in order to reflect our population. This idea, that our voting system should be a reflection of the voters, seems very simple to me yet somehow has been difficult to adopt in practice.
After finishing my first year at Colgate University and intending to major in Political Science and minor in Art History, I started looking for a summer internship where I could learn more about our current political system, while also understanding a better alternative. Cynthia Terrell, one of the founders of FairVote, came to speak at Colgate in the fall about a project of FairVote called Representation2020 and I was immediately interested. Representation2020 is actively working to reform the electoral system as a way to represent more women in politics. As a woman who is specifically interested in politics, this was very exciting for me to hear about! After learning how grossly underrepresented more that half of the population is in our government, I was appalled. This is so problematic not only because women represent so much of our country, but also because women have something so uniquely important that we can bring to the table: we provide new perspectives and voices for policy that men simply cannot. Therefore, to ignore those voices is to neglect the full potential of the American people, putting everyone at a disadvantage.
I’m very excited to work with Representation2020’s Communications Department because in this capacity I am able to learn about the electoral system as a whole, where women stand in it, and ways to improve this through structural reforms. The Communications Department is uniquely interesting to me because I can share what I have learned through FairVote and Representation2020 with others through social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with the hope and optimism that they too will be excited to advocate for such an important cause.
Maddie is the 2016 Representation2020/Communications Intern at FairVote. Learn more about FairVote's Democracy Fellowships and Internship opportunities on our Employment page.