Out West student blog

Need an Elections Expert? Call Diana at the National Conference of State Legislatures!

Diana Jordan, taking a break in Yosemite National Park.

Diana Jordan ‘22
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Major: B.A. Political Science; B.A.H. Communications; Minor in English
Elections Policy Intern, National Conference of State Legislatures

Why did you want to do this internship?

I have always loved doing research and being on a research team; however, I have never had the opportunity to work with a large organization, until now! It has been amazing to be able to build my writing skills while learning about new topics such as candidate qualifications, voting equipment, ballot measures, ranked-choice voting, redistricting, etc. Overall, I wanted to gain more knowledge on the realm of elections while working with a larger team.

How does your role support the host organization’s mission?

The organization prides itself on being a nonpartisan organization for legislatures to go to for information and research requests. Overall, NCSL “is committed to improving the operations and management of state legislatures, and the effectiveness of legislators and legislative staff.” Therefore, I help the organization's mission by updating web pages, doing one-off research assignments, and ensuring that my work simply provides factual information without any personal/partisan bias.

Describe a project you will be working on this summer.

One project I am working on is updating NCSL’s “How to Become a Candidate for State Legislator” webpage. This involves doing research on candidate qualifications (age, residency, etc.), paper filing requirements, petition requirements, etc. To do this, I will be reading state constitutions and statutes, and creating tables with updated information to go on NCSL’s website. Therefore, if anyone in their intended audience, the public or legislators, needs a go-to place for understanding what it takes to become a candidate, they can use this resource. In addition to updating this webpage, I have already been able to finish updating “Secrecy of the Ballot and Ballot Selfies,” “Voting Age for Primary Elections,” and “Straight Ticket Voting.”

How does this project relate to your studies and/or career goals?

This project relates to my studies because I am currently studying both Political Science and Communication. I also have a plan to go to graduate school for a PhD in Political Science, with my general area of interest being American Politics. A major part of my work is being able to understand and read legal and government documents and write in a way that is nonpartisan and fact-based. The skills I learn in the research position will easily be applicable to my other research positions and my future goals as an academic interested in politics. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I love to travel! Most recently I have visited Honolulu, Hawaii; Miami, Florida; and now Denver, Colorado (which happens to be where NCSL is located)! I enjoy cooking, going to the beach, playing games with friends, and dancing.

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