Can you read your ballot?

Most voters don’t think about the design of the ballot on which they are casting their votes, but as we learned in 2000, it can have a crucial impact on who wins. Can we expect young voters and those who don’t often go to the polls to be enthusiastic about getting out to vote if they are not sure their ballot will reflect their choices? There are designers working on this issue and their work is demonstrated in this N.Y. Times article. You may be surprised to see how much difference it makes to be confronted with a clear, well-designed ballot as compared to a muddled, text-filled one. The use of simple language, the separation of directions from the voting area, and enough space to let the choices stand out clearly–all are important in ballot design. Take a look at your ballot design as you vote this year and if you have to take time to figure out how to use it, complain to local officials so that future ballots can be better designed. It’s a small, but crucial step to keep democracy working.

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