I’ll admit, I was bit skeptical when I began a research project this winter about ranked choice voting. I had seen the problematic effects of our current voting system: the dismal number of women and people of color in elected office and the partisan gridlock. I just thought time had to run its course before anything would change. As it turns out, there are all kinds of different ways to fix the problems I’d come to accept as flaws of government. In cities across the country, these solutions are being integrated, tested, and proven to be effective. My research project opened my eyes to a new sector of political reform I had never thought about before: voting reform. The main source for my project was, of course, FairVote, and I couldn’t think of a better place to explore my new found passion for voting equality.
As I began to learn more about FairVote, one of the projects that drew me to the organization was Representation 2020 and the effect of voting reforms on women. I live half an hour away from our nation’s Capitol, the epitome of freedom and democracy. It’s ironic how even inside the Capitol dome, these ideals are not fully realized. I want to see more smart, qualified women get elected to office because, to put it simply, they are like me. Women are uniquely able to understand and fight for the issues important to me and act as role models for girls everywhere.
During my time at FairVote, I have learned about voting solutions as they relate to military members,women, partisan gridlock, and so much more. When I go home after work, I am bursting with all I have learned and how much it can help our country. If I can get this excited after a few weeks of work, just imagine the implications on a national scale. Throughout the summer I hope to get a better understanding of the reforms themselves, as well as watch how FairVote’s structural electoral reforms gain attention and support from citizens across the country. I'm excited to use these new skills as I enter my freshman year at Tufts University and continue to explore the realm of political science.
Shayna Solomon is an incoming freshman at Tufts University and a 2015 Research Intern at FairVote focusing on women's political representation. Do you want to apply for a FairVote internship? Find more information here: http://www.fairvote.org/who-we-are/internships-and-employment/internships/