I first heard about internship opportunities with FairVote from Liberty’s Promise, a club at my school that encourages young immigrants to become active members of American society through local internships and other civic programs. I was determined to get an internship. Scanning through the many job opportunities, I decided to check out FairVote. Initially, politics was not an interest of mine, but after reading about FairVote’s work on women's representation. I was intrigued.
Finally, someone was stepping up to solve a problem that has been going on for decades: gender disparity -- the underrepresentation of women in government office. Women make up only 19% of Congress and 24% of state legislatures, this is despite the U.S. population being more female than male since 1951 (according to a recent Pew Research study). I was baffled. It really did not make much sense to me, and more than that, it just seemed so unfair.
As an intern with FairVote, I’m excited to help advance reforms that really make a difference in getting more women into office. I’m also very interested in young people aged 16-17 gaining the right to vote. These reforms would make a huge impact. Structural reforms to increase women’s representation would make sure that the candidates selected actually represent the people. Teenage voting would give more young adults that care about politics a voice in the political system.
These reforms give individuals the chance to really choose their representation. This internship excites me because FairVote is not only trying to get the voices of women and minorities heard, but also teenagers. It takes courage to break away from the norm, I think what FairVote is doing is very courageous. For me, the importance of electoral reforms is that it gives a voice to people, creates a more diverse election, and ensures that everyone who voted has a meaningful vote. Tenneh Dukuly is a 2015 Research Intern at FairVote. Do you want to apply for a FairVote Fellowship? Find more information here: http://www.fairvote.org/who-we-are/internships-and-employment/fellowships/