In my Elections and Engagement course during my junior year at the University of Pennsylvania, I was shocked to learn that only about 20% of people between the ages of 18 and 25 showed up to vote – on a good year. I spent the rest of my time at Penn learning about why people vote, why they don’t, and why our electoral system discourages competition, bipartisan cooperation and moderation, and participation in general. During my junior year, my first internship was with the U.S. House of Representatives. There, it became clear to me that votes were not being translated into seats in the House. Upon graduation two years later, I joined a national Senate campaign to take what I learned into the world. On a real campaign, however, I realized that the problems our country faces with our voting system and representation were so much worse than a professor in a classroom could ever hope to describe.
From the second I first heard about FairVote, I knew that’s where I belonged. Quite frankly, I had not known that there were even other people out there that actually did what I wanted to do and were interested in election reform. The reforms that FairVote promotes would work wonders to solve the problems that I witnessed firsthand. Superdistricts would make our House of Representatives more reflective of the desires of the population. Ranked choice voting eliminates the sentiment among voters that no candidate represents their views - a complaint I received ad nauseum as I talked to thousands of people on the campaign. People would be given actually electable options that aren’t only two candidates chosen by the most active members of their respective parties (which would also help ease the partisan divide stalling the legislative process). I am so excited to be part of the effort to fight for these reforms as a member of the FairVote team, and I look forward to watching more voters participate in politics as a more representative government becomes more responsive to the needs of the American people.
Katie Gansler is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a 2015 Research Intern at FairVote. Do you want to apply for a FairVote internship? Find more information here: http://www.fairvote.org/who-we-are/internships-and-employment/internships/