Drake University is home to the archives of former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and Iowa’s 38th Governor, Robert D. Ray. In 2016, the school hosted a Democratic presidential candidates’ debate. Soon, the campus in Des Moines will bolster its reputation as a center for political study by becoming the headquarters for Vote Smart.
Drake University President Marty Martin is excited to be associated with the organization that’s considered one of the leading sources of nonpartisan political information. “They currently provide a log of candidate speeches, voting records, special interest group ratings, campaign financing sources, and a large assessment of other issues regarding candidates’ positions and comments,” Martin says. “So, it’s a place that anyone can go…and discover what they need to know about a candidate or position in order to be an informed voter.”
Vote Smart, launched in 1992 as Project Vote Smart, has been headquartered at a remote location in Montana. The organization will move to the Drake campus in 2017.
Martin says, in addition to dozens of internship opportunities, Vote Smart will employ just over 20 full-time workers. He expects only a few employees in Montana will make the move to Des Moines.
“It’s an organization that’s had, just by its business model, a lot of turnover and I expect there will some in making this move because it falls at the right time,” Martin says. “They just came through, as we all did, the presidential election season. So, they’re in a bit of a lull and it would be a natural time for some turnover to occur. It might very well be the case that they’ll be looking to hire when they arrive in Des Moines.”
The internships with Vote Smart will be open to not only students at Drake, but also students from other Des Moines-area colleges and universities. Martin says Iowa State University officials have also expressed interest in the internships.