Come November, journalists play a critical role as the public’s eyes and ears reporting on voting rights and election activities: fundraising, campaigns, corruption, voter turnout, ballot irregularities and final results on election night. There are few programs that empower aspiring writers to become voting rights journalists. One such program is the Emerging Voices Fellowship—Voting Rights Journalist. 

This fellowship “gives voice to strong progressive values within the areas of voting rights, including advancing the National Voter Registration Act, same day registration and automatic voter registration; increasing access to the ballot for people with limited English proficiency and restoring voting rights to people convicted of felonies; and fighting against all forms of voter suppression, in particular through voter purging,” according to Demos, the organization that offers it. 

The Trump era has emboldened conservatives as well as white supremacists who believe voting rights must be abolished and voting must be limited to the already privileged white Americans. Therefore, it is very important that programs exists to train journalists who specialize in voting rights, journalists who fight for progressive causes and expose interest groups that would deny voting rights to nonwhite Americans, women, the LGBTQ community and the formerly incarcerated. 

The attack on voting rights has been sustained ever since former President Barack Obama was elected to the White House. The Obama era had awakened groups that despise nonwhite immigrants and new voters. The white supremacist groups have been working very hard to reverse almost every significant policy change meant to sustain voting rights for all Americans, immigration reforms, women’s rights and health care reforms. 

Journalists have been at the forefront of the fight against voter purging and disenfranchisement. The public needs more fellowship opportunities that strengthen progressive storytellers and policy influencers. The Demos fellowship is a promising one.   

“[Emerging Voices Fellowship—Voting Rights Journalist] is dedicated to developing emerging writers and thinkers with an interest in pursuing reporting or providing commentary on voting rights and access to the ballot box,” stated Demos. “The fellowship aims to help an individual enter important public debates as a dynamic progressive voice.” 

The fellowship will specifically help “candidates with demonstrable interest in effecting change in under-represented communities, and with diverse backgrounds, are especially encouraged to apply.” 

The fellowship is a full-time opportunity for one year based in New York City. 

For more information, visit the program website