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 collects 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.
Requirements: 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.