Voices & Choices

Meet the Team: John Guttman

Meet the Team: John Guttman

Howdy! I am a research intern here at FairVote. I am also a master of public affairs candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, where I recently completed my undergraduate degree in actuarial science (more later on what this is). Although I have spent the last five years attending school in Austin, I was born and raised in the much more humid and highway-dependent Houston, a city of great sports teams and incredible, diverse cuisine and people.

I am fortunate to be spending my summer in the DC-Maryland area and working on electoral and voting reform. I believe that the current political moment calls for a drastic re-evaluation of the systems that dictate American democracy. So many of the most pressing issues of today - unpopular politicians, polarized politics, and inadequate policy discourse - are the result of broken electoral procedures and ineffective voting methods. At FairVote, I hope to be part of the movement to build a more fair, representative democracy that speaks for everyone.

Although I have long followed politics, I have not always studied public policy. From elementary through high school, I attended public performing and visual arts schools in Houston, spending my time on jazz saxophone and, when possible, baseball. Eventually, it became clear that my career interests resided not in music, but in math, always my favorite school subject. I went to college and studied actuarial science, a type of statistics used exclusively by “actuaries” at insurance companies. (Famous fictional actuaries include Ben Stiller’s character in “Along Came Polly”, Edward Norton’s character in “Fight Club,” and a young animated tiger in “Zootopia”).

The 2016 elections convinced me that I needed to get involved in politics and policy. Unsure what to do after completing my undergraduate degree, I decided to attend the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin and hone my political interests. During a first-semester writing course, I came across FairVote while researching solutions to gerrymandering. I was immediately fascinated by electoral reform and ranked choice voting. As I completed a policy internship at the Texas legislature during the spring of 2019, I continued my research into voting and elections reform. I wanted to contribute, and FairVote is the perfect place to learn and work on important projects.

I am excited to work with the incredible team assembled at FairVote and promote electoral reform. I am inspired by progress with ranked choice voting achieved across the country, and I can’t wait to see what I learn and experience during my time here.

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