Voices & Choices

Meet the Team: Frances O'Connor

Meet the Team: Frances O'Connor

When I began searching for a summer internship program, I knew I wanted to work in a field that would combine aspects from both of my interests: digital communications and youth activism in government. New to the internship process, I didn’t know where to begin my search. Thankfully, I remembered an interview I had with FairVote as a part of a documentary project I had completed the previous year for CSPAN’s StudentCam film competition. My partners and I had chosen to research, interview, and edit a documentary about gerrymandering in Maryland -- specifically the case of Benisek v. Lamone. Besides being a memorable experience, I found it to be an eye-opening look at local politics and the shortcomings of our current voting systems on Americans. I knew that an organization like FairVote would allow me to continue my investigation of local politics, but also apply the issues I was passionate about on a national and global scale.

My interest in local politics continued with my participation in Maryland’s Youth and Government program. In this program, delegations work throughout the year to draft bills and practice parliamentary procedure, all in preparation for a culminating mock legislative session in Annapolis. There were various program roles to choose from, such as a member of the Senate or House of Delegates, a participant in the mock trial, or as a reporter with the Press Corps. I chose to work with the Broadcast team, documenting the weekend-long conference through the creation of short videos that would be shown at an ending banquet. Not only was I able to cover the most pertinent issues at the conference, but I was also able to work on videos that my peers would cherish as a record of the legislative success we enjoyed while in Annapolis. This experience was extremely fulfilling, as I got to interact with teens from across the state of Maryland who were passionate about government and instituting legislative change. At FairVote, I hope to continue working on public communication and covering important political developments in real time, just like my work in Youth and Government.

Both of my experiences with youth advocacy have contributed to my decision to work with FairVote. I hope that by the end of this summer, I will be able to continue my passion for equitable voting systems -- such as ranked choice voting -- by increasing awareness through communications skills I’ll learn at FairVote.

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