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  • Ashley Peldiak

Vote Smart: An Intern's Perspective

As the year comes to an end, so does the semester I’ve spent researching with Vote Smart. Over the past five months, I have spent countless hours scouring the websites of legislators and reading through their public statements. The internship was anything but glamorous — most of my days were spent in my dorm room, drinking coffee, and staring at my laptop. But my time throughout the midterm election season renewed my value of facts and truth within politics.

I might just be a freshman in college, but I’ve spent the entirety of my adult life and academic career surrounded by politics. I started paying attention to the news in middle school, right around the 2016 election. I got involved in high school, right after the 2018 midterms, and began to work within the system during the 2020 election. Throughout my time, I have seen the deterioration of truth. I have seen how dis- and misinformation have rapidly spread throughout social media, and I’ll be honest, it’s exhausting. Watching so many Americans not have access to truthful information made it hard for me to want to dedicate four years of my life to studying politics. Sure, I had the education and the resources to find information about elected officials, but the majority of voters do not.

Learning that there were individuals working in my hometown to give everyday Americans that information convinced me to keep going in this political sphere. I have seen first-hand the dedication of Vote Smart employees and interns to fact-finding and research. And their mission has only become more important as election seasons come and go. Providing free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials to ALL Americans, Vote Smart truly embodies the founding principles of this country. Freedom and self-governance relies on open access to political information, and it is the purpose of Vote Smart to provide it. People of all backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives have come together to ensure this mission is accomplished every election cycle. So as we head into the presidential election of 2024, it is critical that we value facts, we hold elected officials accountable, and we continue this effort to save democracy.

This statement was written by Chloe Gayer, a research intern at Vote Smart for the fall of 2022. She is a freshman at Drake University studying Strategic Political Communications and American Politics.



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