1HDC 08.08 - Voting Booth - Discussion

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Voting Booth

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

As we approach the upcoming November election, the role of design and experience will once again take center stage. The ballot design fiasco of the 2000 election taught us that the ramifications of design decisions can be profound, so for this Core77 1 Hour Design Challenge, we invite designers to submit design solutions for the “voting booth.” Designs submitted can include both voting machines and environments, but we are looking for strong concepts that explore the way we vote, where we vote.

Participants must execute their design in only 1 hour, based on an honor system. Upload images and a brief text description of your design to the designated discussion forum.

Winners will be selected by Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel of Winterhouse, creators of The Polling Place Photo Project (now a New York Times project) and founding editors of Design Observer. Community discussion is encouraged to help ensure that the best designs win.

Judging will be based on quality of presentation, strength of concept, and ambition of idea.

1st prize will receive a gift basket from Winterhouse, including homemade maple syrup, t-shirt, a copy of Design For Democracy, and other special surprises. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be featured in the Core77 November Newsletter and on the Core77 Blog.

With dates like these it will be over before it began

wow, never thought I would see this as a 1HDC topic. I did a voting booth/experience project for a studio project last semester. I had never seen a similar project before and that was part of why I decided to tackle the subject. Here is my project from last semester. It was a sponsored PACE (Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education) project and it ended up winning. since this took longer than an hour to complete, looks like i’m not eligible for the contest.


great contest with a great typo " october 14" not nov 14

Thanks for the heads up! We would have needed a flux capacitor.


jknodell, that is sweet.

yo… while I find the idea of internet voting extremely attractive from the standpoint of improving voter turnout, it fails to address an EXTREMELY important aspect of running a free and fair election–the ability for one’s vote to be anonymous.

Unlike an in-person election (or even absentee voting by mail), where one can provide credentials in order to obtain a ballot but mantain anonymity when turning in the completed ballot, voting via the Internet would require that one’s unique identity was verified throughout every step of the voting process, up to and including submission of the completed ballot. While the organization running the election COULD promise that identities were not being tied to votes, unless the voter can verify that fact for themselves, it’s still a major issue.

Unfortunately, with the way the Internet operates at the moment, it’s impossible to solve that issue without removing the unique identification process–and unique identification is necessary to prevent ballot fraud. (Unless I’m missing something, of course–and I hope I am, as I still like the core concept of being able to vote from anywhere when it’s convenient.)

Several states have mail in ballot systems (Oregon included) where all ballots are mailed to registered voters’ home addresses. Voters either mail or drop the ballots at select locations in voter signed and sealed envelopes. I would assume the challenges with a digital version of this wold be similar. With any system, the potential for fraud, misuse, and plain old negligence are possible. This idea gets at making it easier… in an hour…

are you going to submit an entry?

yo! you took my idea! hahaha
now i will find a new…better idea
nice execution though…its much better than how I would’ve done it

I figured some others would have the same thought! Besides, it makes for a nice sketch! It was great to sit down for an hour last night and actually sketch.

I intend to, yes. I’m still rolling the several ideas I’ve come up with around in my head, trying to figure out what to put together into one cohesive idea and then how to execute it in an hour…

A People’s Choice Award?
Seems fitting to let the people have their say.

michael.design, extra points for doing it during a lecture, with borrowed markers… and for flagrant over use of the American flag… we apparently love that here in politics.

pretty busy, so don’t have the time to throw down, but thought i’d quickly lay out a few thoughts-

more as a thought experiment than something that could be actually done, but…

why are elections anonymous? while i can see that certain groups might feel pressured if their vote was known, i would think if everyone’s vote was public, there would be much more accountability. votes in the government (supreme court, senate, etc.) are all on record for this very reason. a more transparent election system would also i think encourage more dialog and equality.

as such, i would propose a system where the vote goes into the elections place, then uses their fingerprints to cast their vote. the twist would be that before they make the mark, their finger is dipped in some sort of ink/dye that remains on the hand for the period of voting (say 1 day or a week). this way, there would be no way to have voter fraud (you can’t vote twice, and your print is tied to your identity), and your vote is clearly seen in public (unless you wear gloves) to stimulate further dialog and avoid the them vs. us phenomenon so prevalent in today’s politics.

while i see the possibility for discrimination based on your voting record, but at the same time believe a “what goes around, comes around” kind of mentality could be established in such a system.


So, in the time remaining, are we hoping more for designs which extend the appeal of voting? Greater accessibility? Or is it more important to insure the quality and accuracy of votes cast by the existing body of determined voters?

Having no bearing on the above, I note that there hasn’t been a submission based on natural-sustainable materials, nor any (visible) solar panels, which seems out of character. Though the recycled containers sort of cover that. So far, that’s where my (premature and, appropriately, ineffectual) vote goes. I really enjoyed the helix and the drowning tanks, too.

I missed rkuchinsky’s last post. The way I’ve understood thing, votes are supposed to be anonymous so that, for example, your employer can’t coerce your to vote a certain way, presumably a serious problem in the budding democracies. I don’t personally feel much concern about this, but it’s generally pretty obvious who I people around me voted for. That particular comfort maybe doesn’t exist everywhere.
I’m all for recording or marking who has and has not voted, though I suppose it could be an invasion if you were a very private person. You could just stay in that week I guess.

Further, votes are anonymous because if you can’t prove who you’ve voted for you can’t offer to sell or trade your vote for anything. In Congress, votes are public…and look what’s happened there.

Nice one personpeople, I love the thinking behind that. That guy gives me nightmares though.

I second Michael Tinstman regarding voting on weekends. I don’t think 15 hours every four years is enough time to assess the will of the nation. Not that there are no other opportunities to participate; they just don’t get this kind of promotion.
There isn’t supposed to be any promotion of a particular candidate or policy in or around a polling place. People are supposed to have made up their minds already, and anything which could show bias and potentially make a voter feel unwelcome is discouraged. Voters aren’t really encouraged to hang out in the booth all day cramming for the election, either.
It doesn’t seem like things really work that way, and it’s not like we proles are really being trusted with this decision anyway, so imaybe it’s okay to have some promotional material at the polls. It might lead to a few fistfights or something, wasn’t that originally a big part of American politics?

Also to Michael Tinstman: What you mean by weighted voting?

I feel like we collectively missed the boat. No?

This is a complex issue. Where are the pitfalls in the system?
What are the core tasks asked of a voting booth? Is compressing to a smaller size a requirement? The ability to research issues and candidates?

Let’s talk this one over.