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 firstname.lastname@example.org for Research positions or email@example.com 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.
Job Title: Research Associate
Research Associates are the backbone of Vote Smart's efforts. Research Associates will be matched to assignments based on their demonstrated abilities and in accordance with the shifting needs of a growing, election-oriented organization. Exceptional applicants may find themselves with opportunities to help manage and develop program areas within months of their start date.
Examples of programs that the researcher may be involved with are:
-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 for this program 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.
-Political Courage Test: Vote Smart challenges candidates to tell voters where they stand on the issues, but when candidates don't have the courage, we answer the questions for them. Researchers may be involved with: administering Political Courage Tests to candidates through mailings, email, and phone contacts; inputting candidate responses in our database; and collecting evidence for and determining candidates' issue positions.
-Legislative Research: Vote Smart makes it easy to see how representatives act in office, summarizing in plain language the key votes made in all 50 states and Congress. Researchers for this program may be involved with tracking the progress of legislation in several states, reading and summarizing legislation, and entering in the votes made by representatives.
-Interest Group Ratings: Vote Smart collects performance evaluations of public officials from hundreds of interest groups on the state and national level. Researchers for this program retrieve and normalize these evaluations, as well as collect information about the interest groups to provide context. A Researcher with strong numeracy will get the most out of this program.
-Public Statements: From climate change to how they feel about the business down the street, Vote Smart maintains a warehouse of 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.
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, good written and oral communication 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.