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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It's All Politics
5:31 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Voter Registration Deadlines Begin Passing This Week

A voter registration form and absentee ballot application at a Franklin County polling place in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday. The deadline to register to vote in Ohio is Oct. 9.
Matt Sullivan Reuters/Landov

If you want to vote in the November elections and you aren't registered yet — you'd better hurry. The registration deadline in five states is this weekend. By the following weekend, the deadline will have passed in more than half the states.

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Law
4:34 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Pennsylvania Judge Blocks Controversial Voter ID Law

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 6:14 pm

In Pennsylvania, a judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the state's controversial voter ID law. In effect, the judge's ruling will allow registered voters to cast ballots in the upcoming election, without showing the government-issued ID required by the law.

It's All Politics
3:01 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Citing 'Zero Tolerance' For Voter Fraud, RNC Fires Firm Over Florida Questions

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 4:31 pm

A big embarrassment came this week for the Republican Party, which has made voting integrity and fighting voter fraud a major issue.

A consulting firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in five battleground states has been let go after one of its workers apparently submitted over 100 questionable registration forms in Florida's Palm Beach County.

The party severed its ties with the firm — Strategic Allied Consulting — because it has "zero tolerance" for voter fraud, said RNC spokesman Sean Spicer.

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Politics
3:37 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Pa. Voters Battle Bureaucracy Ahead Of ID Law Ruling

Beverly Mitchell shows off her new photo ID card outside a Philadelphia DMV office. She decided to get the card in case a Pennsylvania court rules to allow the enactment of a state law that requires voters to show photo ID in order to vote.
Pam Fessler/NPR

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 9:08 am

The first sign that getting a new ID isn't going to be easy for Beverly Mitchell and Kathleen Herbert comes before the pair have even left their downtown Philadelphia senior center. As they wait for a ride to a nearby Department of Motor Vehicles office, they get the news: The van that was supposed to take them is broken.

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Election 2012
3:29 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Voter Purges Under Review Ahead Of Election Day

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 5:14 am

Noncitizens aren't allowed to vote in federal and state elections, but efforts to remove them from the nation's voter registration rolls have produced more angst than results.

Opponents say the scope of the problem has been overblown; those behind the efforts say they've just begun to look at the problem.

'Early Stages'

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Economy
5:39 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Poverty Rate Unchanged, But Still Historically High

A child waits with a box of food at a mobile food bank in Oswego, N.Y., in June. New census data show that 46.2 million people in the U.S. lived below the poverty line last year.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:45 pm

The U.S. poverty rate last year was unchanged from the year before, according to new figures Wednesday from the Census Bureau. But that still means almost 1 in 6 Americans was poor.

The new data show that 46.2 million people in the U.S. lived below the poverty line — about $23,000 for a family of four. The number of poor was almost exactly the same as it was the year before, but still historically high.

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Election 2012
4:11 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Voting Laws In Several States Remain Unsettled

In South Carolina, Pennsylvania and several other states, new voter ID laws are being challenged in court just eight weeks before the general election.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 6:26 pm

Eight weeks before the presidential election, new laws passed by Republican legislatures that concern who can vote and when remain in the hands of federal and state judges.

Among the cases: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week will hear an appeal to overturn that state's new voter ID law. An appeal is expected in a case involving early voting in Ohio. And a federal court is still considering whether South Carolina can go ahead with its new voter ID law.

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The Salt
5:09 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Recession Still Hurting U.S. Families Trying To Put Food On The Table

Jacque Holland, 43, of Milwaukee picks up food at the food pantry at United Methodist Children's Services of Wisconsin.
Carrie Antlfinger AP

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:12 pm

The number of U.S. families struggling to put enough food on the table remains at record-high levels, according to new figures out today from the government. Last year, 1 in almost 7 households were what the government calls "food insecure." That's about the same level as in 2010, but still far higher than before the recession.

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Election 2012
3:23 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Pre-Election Legal Battles Target Voting Rules

Protesters hold signs in Allentown, Pa., om July 25 as the Commonwealth Court holds hearings on voter ID laws.
Stephen Flood Express-Times /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 11:56 am

If you vote, you might very well be confused about what the rules will be when you go to cast your ballot this fall. There's been a flood of new laws on things such as voter identification and early voting, and many of them are now being challenged in court.

Some cases could drag on until Nov. 6, Election Day, and beyond. The outcomes will affect voters, and maybe even the results.

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Around the Nation
12:46 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Study Reveals The Geography of Charitable Giving

Attorneys Cheryl Curtis and her husband, Dana Foster, live in Washington, D.C., and donate generously to a nearby nonprofit that helps low-income residents. "Now that I have more, I want to give to organizations that provide just basic food for people," Curtis says.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 1:50 pm

Ever wonder how charitable the people are who live in your state or community? It turns out that lower-income people tend to donate a much bigger share of their discretionary incomes than wealthier people do. And rich people are more generous when they live among those who aren't so rich.

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