Pam Fessler

Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty and philanthropy.

In her reporting, Fessler covers homelessness, hunger, and the impact of the recession on the nation's less fortunate. She reports on non-profit groups, how they're trying to address poverty and other social issues, and how they've been affected by the economic downturn. Her poverty reporting was recognized by a 2011 First Place Headliner Award in the human interest category.

Previously, Fessler reported primarily on homeland security, including security at U.S. ports, airlines, and borders. She has also reported on the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 Commission investigation, and such issues as Social Security and election reform. Fessler was also one of NPR's White House reporters during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Before becoming a correspondent, Fessler was the acting senior editor on the Washington Desk and oversaw the network's coverage of the impeachment of President Clinton and the 1998 mid-term elections. She was NPR's chief election editor in 1996, and coordinated all network coverage of the presidential, congressional, and state elections. Prior to that role, Fessler was the deputy Washington editor and Midwest National Desk editor.

Before coming to NPR in 1993, she was a senior writer at Congressional Quarterly magazine. Fessler worked at CQ for 13 years as both a reporter and editor, covering tax, budget, and other news. She also worked as a budget specialist at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and was a reporter at The Record newspaper in Hackensack, NJ.

Fessler has a Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from Douglass College in New Jersey.

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6:03am

Mon December 1, 2014
Around the Nation

Charities Kick Off Holiday Season With Giving Tuesday

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 7:24 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In the pattern of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, tomorrow is labeled Giving Tuesday. Charities want to attract new donors. It's the third Giving Tuesday and the biggest so far, as NPR's Pam Fessler reports.

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5:20am

Wed November 12, 2014
Politics

Anti-Poverty Groups Prepare For Battles With New Congress

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 8:09 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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4:57am

Fri October 31, 2014
Law

Activists Against Voter Restrictions May Be Hindering Their Legal Case

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 11:35 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here's an irony of this fall's election. New voter ID laws and other restrictions are in effect.

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4:32pm

Wed October 22, 2014
Politics

Want Your Absentee Vote To Count? Don't Make These Mistakes

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:54 pm

Ballots from June 2014 marked "too late" in Sacramento County, Calif.
Kim Alexander Courtesy California Voter Foundation

Millions of voters — about 1 in 5 — are expected to vote absentee, or by mail, in November's midterm elections. For many voters, it's more convenient than going to the polls.

But tens of thousands of these mail-in ballots are likely to be rejected — and the voter might never know, or know why.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission found that in 2012 more than a quarter of a million absentee ballots were rejected.

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3:02pm

Thu October 16, 2014
It's All Politics

Recent Rulings Alter Voting Laws Ahead Of November Election

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 3:50 pm

Election worker Dorothy Davis checks a voter's ID during Arkansas' party primary elections in May. After a state Supreme Court ruling, Arkansas' voter ID law won't be in effect for the November elections.
Danny Johnston AP

Election Day is 2 1/2 weeks away and early voting has already started in many places. So here's a recap for all those trying to keep track of the flurry of last-minute legal activity involving state voting laws:

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4:05pm

Fri October 10, 2014
Law

Courts Strike Down Voter ID Laws In Texas, Wisconsin

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 6:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:53am

Fri October 10, 2014
Law

U.S. Supreme Court Court Halts Wis. Voter ID Law; Texas Law Overturned

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 8:05 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

3:05am

Thu October 9, 2014
It's All Politics

Rules For Provisional Ballots All Over The Map

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 11:46 am

Adreanne Lewis signs up for a photo ID at a senior center in Arlington County, Va., with the help of Bill Sands, outreach coordinator for the county registrar.
Pam Fessler NPR

The fail-safe for many voters who run into problems at the polls — such as a lack of ID or an outdated address — is called provisional voting. The person votes, and his or her ballot only counts after the problem is resolved.

But many of these ballots never do count, raising questions about how good a fail-safe they really are.

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8:13am

Thu September 18, 2014
Politics

Ads Get Creative, Even Seductive, To Attract Voters

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 9:17 am

In this Illinois ad, Doris and her friend Betty suggestively encourage two young men to come in ... and get voter ID cards.
YouTube

September is voter registration month, but inspiring Americans to register and vote isn't always easy. Especially with politicians held in such low esteem. So some groups — and a few election officials — are taking a page from the book of Mad Men's Don Draper to get voters to the polls. Who knew that voting could be this much fun?

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2:00pm

Wed September 3, 2014
The Salt

Millions Struggle To Get Enough To Eat Despite Jobs Returning

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 3:27 pm

People shop in a Miami grocery store on July 8. USDA says that despite the drop in unemployment, the number of food insecure Americans has not declined because higher food prices and inflation last year offset the benefits of a brighter job market.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The number of U.S. families that struggled to get enough to eat last year was essentially unchanged from the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report on "food security."

The agency says that about 17.5 million families — or 1 in 7 — were food insecure last year. That means that at some point during the year, the household had trouble feeding all of its members. In 2012, the number was 17.6 million.

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