Faith in the unwashed masses

October 22nd, 2008, 4:32 pm

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Joined: September 28th, 2008, 10:33 pm
Location: NY
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.

Invisible Votes

October 23rd, 2008, 10:39 am

step one
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Joined: September 23rd, 2006, 8:23 am
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.

October 25th, 2008, 8:13 pm

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

October 30th, 2008, 8:59 pm

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Joined: September 28th, 2008, 10:33 pm
Location: NY
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?

Let's talk about these concepts

October 31st, 2008, 8:22 am

Posts: 6
Joined: August 24th, 2008, 7:22 pm
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.

Polling Booths

October 31st, 2008, 7:45 pm

Michael Tinstman
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Joined: September 28th, 2008, 10:51 am
Location: Revere, MA
Weighted voting, the way I understand it, works by letting the voter assign a value of preference to all of the candidates. Some think that this might bring forth truer democratic results. Someone told me that Cambridge, MA uses this type of system for their local elections. I've never looked it up, so I can't say for certain. But as an example someone like me, using a system of 1 out of 10 would weigh my votes like this. Obama 8, McCain 3, Nader 5 (and I forget the rest of the candidates). I'm still not sure its the best way, but I wonder if voting would work better if refreshed our system in that manner.

After all of that blabbing I realized that what I mean is more commonly refered to as cumulative voting. Sorry, 1-hour didn't leave me time to look that one up. It's a stream of concious exersize for me. Its why I like the competition. Anyways, to those who are curious, wikipedia always provides the answers.

To answer other questions, that seemed to be directed at me. The height adjustment was just a reaction to my own concerns that the same voting method should be available to shorter people or those in wheel chairs, etc.

The candidate and referendum info monitor was a reaction to some people inability to find time to "learn up" on the issues. I'm a NPR news junkie, so I get enough. I think all votes are good votes and the more votes a system has the better. But a nice susinct list of bullet points from candidates might help in the decision process. I did wonder if it was unethical or illegal, but again, no time to look it up. Also, had the same concern about it clogging the line. Not the sort of thing the system needs, especially this year!

October 31st, 2008, 11:04 pm

Posts: 12
Joined: September 28th, 2008, 10:33 pm
Location: NY
Offhand, I would say a traditional voting booth should:
*Accurately tally votes
*Provide privacy and anonymity
*Move the voter efficiently through the process of recording their descisions
*Provide records for recounts and turnout statistics
in roughly that order

What most of us seem to be doing is assigning to the booth other aspects of the political process which we are no longer (or never were, I suppose) functioning properly, such as attracting and educating voters, or polling public opinion.

Which could make sense if the voting booth is a good icon for democracy.

Oh yeah, so do we get to vote on winner this time?
and if so, how?

November 2nd, 2008, 4:20 pm

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And the Winner is.............

As stated on the C77 Blog ( ... _11597.asp)

Our esteemed judges on this this challenge were William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand of Winterhouse, creators of The Polling Place Photo Project (now a New York Times project) and founding editors of Design Observer. Here are their overall impressions:

Voting is a serious civic activity--perhaps the most important citizen engagement in a democracy. The challenge of one-hour solutions for voting booths might seem to run contrary to the scope and complexity of the enterprise, but we are nonetheless impressed with the range of solutions offered here. Some are serious, some are playful, and some are politically ironic. A carnival ride where you see the future implications of your vote? A monkey with a tamborine superimposed between the candidates? Throwing rocks at the portraits of the candidates you least like? We are amused. We are going to (generally) error, though, on the side of serious proposals, these being serious times. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all who took the time to participate.

And now for the winners...

First Place:"Vote with Style" Voting Tree, by vinishree


Judges' Comments: The idea of conflating the act of voting with a sculptural gesture is a novel idea. This proposal also seemed to balance the public/private balance of voting in a graceful manner: by invoking the nature of a tree, albeit an artificial one with paper leaves, the notion of public participation feels less like a rally and more like a kind of grounded act. There's also something nice about voting outside, in a park or park-like environment. Together, these references--that you're contributing to a larger environmental awareness, that your vote adds to others and collectively bespeaks a kind of united public activism--lends a tone of noble, yet natural gravitas to the idea of voting as a conduit to establishing a kind of anchored, responsible, human national governance. And that's a good thing.

Second Place: Portable Voting Booth, by firenzee


Judge's Comments: If gestures of permanence represent voting as a grounded activity, then the portable voting experience is, arguably, a misguided notion. However, it acknowledges the fleeting, nomadic nature of contemporary life, and in this respect, the portable voting booth--that includes collabsible walls and a handle for easy carrying--seems a plausible proposal. Lightweight construction and red-blue bipartisan color codes make it an instantly recognizable form, and represent a strategy for bringing the voting to the people--as opposed to getting people to the polls--which may well be worth considering in future elections.

Third place: Bipartisan Shape Sorters, by njessee