Job Opportunities

Join us in our mission to save democracy.

Vote Smart maintains a modest staff primarily composed of recent college graduates dedicated to our mission of voter education and candidate accountability. All staff commit to work through the next general election, at a minimal salary. The Vote Smart pledge, signed by all staff, commits individuals to absolute impartiality, respect and deference toward all citizens, and professional integrity.

It is essential that all applicants believe in Vote Smart's mission. The contributions you make to your country and the extensive experience you gain will make it worthwhile. Vote Smart provides medical benefits, as well as the most extraordinary experience of your life!

If you are interested in contributing to this effort, please send your cover letter, resume and three references to for Research positions or for other positions. Please indicate the position for which you are applying.

Unless otherwise noted, all positions are in Des Moines, IA, at our Drake University office. Vote Smart is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Please see our Equal Opportunity Policy for more details.

Director of Officials Research


The Director of Officials Research is primarily responsible for the oversight and coordination of several research programs: currently, Public Statements, Legislative Research, and Special Interest Groups. The Director may also be responsible for other tasks that encompass several programs or Vote Smart's research more broadly.


Specific responsibilities include:

Reporting to the Assistant National Director on work completed, goals met, and any problems encountered or projected for the relevant research programs
Making sure all research is accurate, uniform, and up to Vote Smart’s data standards
Planning the resource needs/goals of the programs, including: interns needed; what each program should expect to complete and when; and what, if any, additional resources are necessary for our research goals
Providing training to new staff and interns, as necessary
Assisting Responses to questions and issues with users/public via the research@ email.
Supervising staff in the relevant programs, which includes:
Reviewing staff time off requests
Assigning interns to specific staff/programs
Evaluating staff performance
Troubleshooting (initially) any and all problems encountered by staff


An ideal applicant will be able to strategically prioritize the various goals of each program, and coordinate those goals with the Director of Elections Research, the Director of Membership, the IT Director, and the Assistant National Director. You will need to create your own work docket based on the mission of the programs under your supervision and be able to effectively delegate larger projects to programs or individuals. Strong day-to-day and long-term organizational skills are a necessity. As you may need to represent Vote Smart to users or prospective users, a working knowledge of all aspects of our research/resources, including how to effectively use our website, is important as well.

Research Associate


Your country has never needed you more. With so many fellow citizens consumed by anger and cynicism, we take a different road. Vote Smart may actually be the most positive, uplifting and sorely-needed creation of our time.

We are the solution to an increasingly cynical world. Vote Smart represents what thinking Americans can do to stay heartened and to keep our democracy hard on track: a source of accurate, abundant information on those who govern or those who wish to replace those who do. We provide voters the facts, just the facts, without interpretation.

As U S News and World Report says: “Vote Smart would make the Founders weep with joy!”

As misinformation continues to plague political dialogue, Vote Smart is continuing toward a brighter future by providing nonpartisan political facts to the public. Research Associates are the backbone of this effort. With over 13 million users in the 2020 elections, Research Associates help improve democracy across the country. Exceptional applicants may find themselves with opportunities to help manage and develop programs within months of their start date.


Examples of programs that the researcher may be involved with are:

Current Candidates and Officials: The first step to connecting citizens to their government is making it easy for them to find out who their candidates and representatives actually are, what their roles are, and how to contact them. Researchers in these programs are responsible for making sure that at any given time, our roster of tens of thousands of officials mirrors those currently in office. Other tasks may include inputting biographical information, contact information, committee assignments, and leadership positions.

Issue Positions: Vote Smart challenges candidates to tell voters where they stand on the issues through our Political Courage Test. Researchers may also be involved with collecting evidence and determining candidates' issue positions.
Legislative Research: With 50 state legislatures plus Congress, there is an immense amount of legislation being put out every year. This program tracks and summarizes legislators' Key Votes on these bills, allowing the public to easily search and digest them.

Interest Group Ratings: Vote Smart collects performance evaluations of public officials from hundreds of interest groups on the state and federal level. Researchers for this program retrieve and standardize these evaluations, as well as collect information about the interest groups to provide context.

Public Statements: From climate change to how they feel about the business down the street, Vote Smart maintains a database of almost every public utterance made by key politicians. Researchers are responsible for collecting, classifying, formatting, and inputting these statements.

Public Engagement: Not everyone will gravitate to and make sense of Vote Smart's vast database on their own, so our researchers are often involved in answering our Voter's Research Hotline, researching special requests made by those who call or write, highlighting data relevant to the events of the day on various platforms, and visualizing our data.

Additional Responsibilities: All research associates will be supervisors of research interns who support the various research programs, as well as working collaboratively across research areas, meeting and reporting research progress, and other research responsibilities.


Ideal applicants will have a good understanding of government and politics, a solid knowledge of current events, experience in researching political issues, exceptional web searching skills, and experience with normalizing data. Those that are highly self-motivated, willing to help out wherever needed, organized, detailed-oriented, committed to self-improvement, and in possession of a strong work ethic do not need to have related experience.

Please submit a resume, cover letter and three professional references to