Vote Smart Internship Program
In an age of "fake news" and political hyperbole, voters deserve factual, unbiased information to help them make informed decisions. Our Internship Program offers positions in our Research programs that will provide interns an insider's look into elections and modern politics. Interns work to provide voters with unbiased information by researching and collecting information in specific research areas about elected officials and candidates at both the state and federal level. The work of our interns empowers voters by allowing them to instantly research candidates without misdirection or partisan spin.
Interns play a crucial role at Vote Smart. The individual talents, ideas and hard work of our interns have been instrumental in the success of many of our most important programs. Interns work with our Research Staff to train in database management and professional communication. Together, they work as a team to strategically accomplish weekly and monthly goals. All of our interns are valuable assets to our team by expanding the number of candidates and officials that can be researched. In 2020, Vote Smart Researchers delivered factual information on nearly 40,000 politicians, from all 50 state legislatures to the president, to 13 million users.
Further information about the internship program can be found on the Internship FAQ page.
Our Internship Program is a great opportunity for anyone looking to start a career in politics, journalism, or data analytics. By fostering skills and a deep respect for nonpartisan cooperation, objective fact seeking, and big-data handling, this internship prepares individuals for politics and data driven careers.
College students and recent graduates typically participate in our Internship Program. We accept applications year-round. Our internship can be done in our Des Moines, IA, Headquarters or remotely. Potential interns are encouraged to submit their applications well in advance of their expected start date because space does fill up quickly every semester and summer. If you are interested in making a genuine contribution to your nation, in an idealistic and positive environment we would love to have you join our team. There is plenty of room to learn and grow with the organization. Many Interns have returned as staff members after they have finished their college careers.
Interns complete the same research as staff members and are given real responsibility. Covering races in all 50 states and at the federal level, they may be assigned to one of the following programs, or may work on special projects in several programs, as needed. Interns receive training on our database, investigate special requests made by media and the general public, maintain and update data as needed, and conduct research in the following programs
- Election Monitoring and collection of political resources, such as Ballot Measures and Voter Registration information
- Biographical information and Issue Positions for candidates and elected officials
- Legislative Research, to include writing and editing state and Congressional Key Vote summaries, as well as entering and checking vote breakdowns for selected votes
- Evaluations and Ratings by Special Interest Groups
- Public Statements made by members of Congress
- Gain valuable experience in nonpartisan research
- Build primary and secondary research skills critical to working in a data-driven political era
- Strengthen writing and communication skills, especially those related to interpersonal organizational communication
- For Remote Interns: Gain impressive remote experience in a growing remote economy
- Apply and expand your learning about the American political system
Vote Smart Interns will:
Vote Smart's Internship Program provides students with unique practical and educational experiences and has accepted interns from many different fields of study. We seek interns who possess strong research skills and who are genuinely interested in working to accomplish our goal of making factual, unbiased political information easily and freely accessible to all. The overriding qualification for securing an internship position is your willingness to commit 100% to Vote Smart’s goals and mission of informing the American Public without bias.
- Be able to set aside political beliefs and be objective and nonpartisan while working.
- Demonstrate strong research and writing skills.
- Have strong attention to details
- Have experience working independently
- For Remote interns: Access to a personal computer that is Windows 7.0+, macOS 10.11+, or Chrome OS 64.0+
- Commit to a minimum of 130 hours
Intern applicants must submit the following:
- Completed application form.
- Resume and cover letter.
- Minimum of three academic or professional references. References need only be names and contact information.
Check with the Internship Coordinator BEFORE accepting your internship to determine if this fits the requirements of an academic internship. For more information about internship opportunities or alternate application submission options please visit the Internship FAQ page or contact the Internship Coordinator. If you have any questions or would like to receive additional information, please contact the Internship Coordinator. Vote Smart is an equal opportunity employer. Please read our Equal Opportunities Policy for more details.
Past Intern Spotlight
After interning in 2015, Tristan worked with Senator Marco Rubio. He now works as a Contracts Administrator with a small business defence contractor.
Working with Vote Smart allowed Tristan to enhance his ability to interpret complex legal literature. This skill he now uses everyday.
"Even as an intern, I felt like I had real responsibilities, and I knew that the work I was doing was important to voters across the entire nation. I was absolutely thrilled to be hired on as a full-time staff member after graduation, and I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities I have had to learn and grow at Vote Smart," says former intern now staff member, Makala McGrean.
Johanan Tai, a graduate of Drake University, interned with Vote Smart on-site. He now works on our staff. "The environment is great and the people are friendly to work with!" That's the reason he looked for a job with Vote Smart after interning during his college tenure.