Project Vote Smart’s Legislative Research Internship Program at the University of Texas at Austin provides a unique lesson in the study of American and state politics. Interns will research bills and compile legislators’ voting records while gaining experience in political research, the U.S. political system, and the legislative process. Project Vote Smart is an independent, nonpartisan source of accurate information about candidates, elected officials, and legislation. By expanding access to factual information, Project Vote Smart helps citizens defend themselves from the negative rhetoric and misrepresentation that is characteristic of present-day political campaigns.
Excellent written communication skills
Strong desire to learn more about politics, policy, and the legislative process
Enthusiasm for Project Vote Smart's mission
Ability to remain nonpartisan
Ability to commit to at least 10 hours per week for the entire semester
Prior knowledge of the legislative process
The minimum time commitment is 10 hours per week. Interns work on a semester basis, so we accept applications for the spring, summer, and fall programs. Scheduling is flexible. Although the internship is unpaid, students may choose to earn course credit for their experience.
Interns will monitor local media in all 50 states, as well as the national media, in order to identify critical pieces of legislation that are important to residents in each state. Once bills have been selected for inclusion on the Project's website, interns will compile legislators' voting records for publication. Interns will also read and summarize each bill in order to provide voters with a clear and concise synopsis of the legislation. Other projects may be assigned, such as researching candidate biographies, compiling interest group ratings, or tracking the progress of ballot measures and initiatives. All interns perform substantive and meaningful work and will never be asked to answer the phone or make coffee. By the end of the semester, interns will have gained valuable experience conducting legislative research, as well as in-depth knowledge of important political issues and how such issues have been addressed by policymakers. The internship is ideal for those considering law school, or who are interested in pursuing a career in a policy-related field.
December 9, 2013
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