Design for Democracy
Since the presidential election of 2000, innovations in voting methods suggest that the best fix may be a matter of better communication—helping voters to find their way to the polling place, to read the ballot, and to indicate their vote more clearly.
One of the most compelling contributions to the streamlining of voter experience has come from a Chicago-based consortium of graphic artists and industrial designers. The ambitious design package extends from posters and signs in the street to the materials used by voters and election judges.

Diagram of voter experience in
the polling place

Chicago's Voter Experience Redesign Initiative (now known as Design for Democracy) studied the local polling place from the voter's point of view.

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Photo of VOTE! Poster
Enlarge photo of VOTE! Poster
Photo of Designing the VOTE! Logo
Enlarge photo of Designing the VOTE! Logo

Poster, VOTE!

Designing the VOTE! Logo

Much like the packaging of a product for an advertising campaign, the design treatment includes colorful posters carrying the VOTE! logo. Posters help voters find their polling place.

Polling place sign

Prototype polling place sign, 2001

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Photo of "Univote" voting both
Enlarge photo of "Univote" voting both

"Univote" voting both

This prototype "Univote" voting booth was designed to work for either a standing or seated voter. In this prototype, the vote recorder (a late variation of the Votomatic) may be moved to one of two positions.

Precinct count card reader

The redesign of the polling place extended to the look of Chicago's precinct ballot counting machines. In Chicago, ballots may be counted as many as four times, and in as many ways. At the conclusion of the day's balloting, an election official opens the top of the counter and raises an antenna to transmit the tally to a central location. Second, the machine prints a tally on paper tape not unlike a cash register receipt. Third, the transmitted tally and the tape tally may be checked against the machine's memory cartridge. Last, the ballots can be counted by hand.

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