Pam Fessler Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty and philanthropy.
Pam Fessler at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)
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Pam Fessler

Allison Shelley/NPR
Pam Fessler at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)
Allison Shelley/NPR

Pam Fessler

Correspondent, National Desk

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

In her reporting at NPR, Fessler does stories on homelessness, hunger, affordable housing, and income inequality. She reports on what non-profit groups, the government, and others are doing to reduce poverty and how those efforts are working. Her poverty reporting was recognized with a 2011 First Place National Headliner Award.

Fessler also covers elections and voting, including efforts to make voting more accessible, accurate, and secure. She has done countless stories on everything from the debate over state voter identification laws to Russian hacking attempts and long lines at the polls.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Fessler became NPR's first Homeland Security correspondent. For seven years, she reported on efforts to tighten security at ports, airports, and borders, and the debate over the impact on privacy and civil rights. She also reported on the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, The 9/11 Commission Report, Social Security, and the Census. Fessler was 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 NPR's chief election editor. She coordinated all network coverage of the presidential, congressional, and state elections in 1996 and 1998. In her more than 25 years at NPR, Fessler has also been deputy Washington Desk editor and Midwest National Desk editor.

Earlier in her career, she was a senior writer at Congressional Quarterly magazine. Fessler worked there 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, New Jersey.

Fessler has a master's 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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Story Archive

An election worker at a poling station in Miami during last month's election there. The coronavirus pandemic is challenging election officials, whose own staffers are coming sick with the virus. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

A woman wearing a mask and protective gloves leaves after casting her vote in the Florida Democratic primary election in Miami on March 17. Eva Marie Uzcategui /AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Eva Marie Uzcategui /AFP via Getty Images

Polling stations were shut down in Columbus, Ohio on March 17. Hours before polls were set to open, Gov. Mike DeWine called off in-person voting due to the coronavirus outbreak and is attempting to reschedule the election for June. Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images hide caption

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Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

As Coronavirus Delays Primary Season, States Weigh Expanding Absentee Voting

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Coronavirus Worries Affect States' Primary Elections

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States Consider Expanding Vote-By-Mail As Coronavirus Collides With Elections

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What Election Officials Are Doing To Prevent Coronavirus Transmission While Voting

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Taylor Miller prepares to cast his ballot during early voting on Monday in Renton, Wash. King County has had the highest number of deaths in the U.S. linked to the coronavirus outbreak. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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Voting Issues Hit California And Texas With Long Waits On Super Tuesday

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Supporters wear medical masks, as fears of coronavirus increase in California, during a campaign rally for Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders in Los Angeles on March 1, 2020. David McNew/Getty Images hide caption

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South Carolina's new voting machines mark a paper ballot with a bar code and the selected candidates' names. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

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South Carolina Primary Voters Will Use Brand New Machines

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Karina Shumate, 21, a college student, filled out a voter registration form in Richardson, Texas on Jan. 18. One big registration effort this year has drawn controversy among elections officials. LM Otero/AP hide caption

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A Big Vote Registration Push Reaches Millions — But Divides Elections Officials

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