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VOTE ANGEL - Design for mutual dependence.

teach the young aspirants(I call them VOTE ANGEL ) about voting between the age of16- 18, would volunteer to go with a navigator ( a person with disability or language barrier or is ill and might need help at any point throughout the process ) .

Photo of Mamta Gautam
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 A precursor for vote angels ( young volunteers between the age of 16-18 ).

Young aspirants between the age 16 and 18 can choose their navigator using online portal, or their school website .

In order to know the limitations before hand, create a common ground for them to meet in person, or online or talk on the phone.

This would be most effective as a strategy by schools and colleges, to collaborate with various established institutes and build upon as a platform for students to go and meet their navigator and understand the process of voting by accompanying with navigator.

For example the process could trigger at a workshop between a school and the American foundation of Blind. In addition to workshops, the online portal for people to find a vote angel for their needs.

Objectives :

Get the young aspirants informed and engaged in the process while serving a dual function of assisting people in need. Visiting the experience will not only help them understand the process but also prepare on who they want to vote for once they are eligible !

The VOTE ANGEL (volunteer) would understand the need of the voter and learn about the voting process while assisting the navigator. in most cases these  navigator would be familiar with the voting process but might need assistance on the day of the voting or prior to that. Allows interaction between young and differently -abled, helps sensitize the young ones to their right to vote as well as help people in need to caste their vote.

The main objective of the concept is to plug in with human resources during anytime of the process and on mutual ground for younger generation and people in need.

How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?

Here is how I visualize a mutual benefit for vote angel and the navigator using different personas – Tasha is a woman in her 30’s who runs her own business. She has been blind since birth. She employs a “reader” who reads print materials to her. However, she uses a computer independently and prefers that method for accessing information. Tahsa need not employ a person this time, the vote angel Nina will pick her. Everytime Tasha has been voting online . This time with the help of Nina (who is very excited to vote after two years) Tasha would experience the voting in person. They will go to the vooting place walking for 15 mins . Nina has never been to a voting place but has googled the voting tips. On reaching, Nina is narrating the number of people in queues ahead of them . Once they reach the poll worker – Nina has informed that Tasha would like to use the audio ballot. Tasha follows the steps as informed by the poll worker. Nina too has understood the process and lets Tasha vote in person using audio voice ballot. They, remian friends from hereonwards ! George is a retiree who has MS that affects his memory and his mobility. He uses a cane and can’t stand for long periods at a time. Because of his memory problems, he needs to bring notes with him to the polling station about how he is going to vote. He is very concerned about voting privacy — he misses the privacy of the old designs with the curtain. George was reminded by Alex Vote Angel ( 17 ) to stay dressed as they have to go to the voting place in another half an hour. George is ready but has forgotten again where is he suppose to go. As Alex arrives in a taxi to pick George and they both talk about Alex’s interests in sports. They arrive the vote poll and Alex stands in the queue (proxy) on behalf of George. In the mean time George was having a relaxed talk with another fellow friend while seating. As Alex reaches the poll worker he requests George to come to the voting machine and updates him on the steps required to vote .With fresh tips on voting from vote angel, George finds it easy to follow the process step by step and can head back with the young friend. Charlie has autism. He is high-functioning and is able to read well. However, he is uncomfortable in crowds and in unfamiliar situations, and he is sensitive to loud noises. He also tends to persevere when doing some tasks, and it is difficult to get him to move on to the next activity. Charlie wants to go and vote today but he is feeling nervous to go in the crowd. Our young volunteer from vote angel will come to pick his ballot and drop it at his respective polling place. Maria is a retiree who has cerebral palsy that affects her mobility and her dexterity. She uses a scooter and has limited fine motor control. As a result, she has difficulty reaching and grasping objects as well as using interfaces that have small buttons or controls. This time Maria is sitting behind on her scooter while Robin is enjoying his drive to the voting venue. They did not realize how the 20 minutes wait disappeared as Robin was showing Maria his girlfriends pictures. As Maria is tired Robin goes inside to request a poll worker for curb side voting . Robin is unhappy to know that the place cannot provide curb voting due to shortage in staff. Robin volunteers to bring the curb side voting device, repeat the steps as told by poll worker and gives the ballot to poll worker. Michael is a retiree with a significant hearing loss. He uses hearing aids and can lip read if he is within a few feet of the speaker and the lighting is good. Janu is our young enthusiast who want to own his music band and is always tuned on music on his iphone. He has an appointment with Micheal today. On meeting Janu realizes it would be rude to have the ear phones on especially when Micheal has hearing loss. Janu thinks of innovative ways to communicate with Micheal until they reach the polling place. He is also telling Micahel his music compositions by lipsinc on their way. At the polling place Janu volunteers to find out which would be best ballot for Micheal. From thereon Micheal finds it easy to cast his ballot and carry on with this daily routine after spending a memorable day with Janu. Janu on the other hand is thinking Micheal won’t be able to enjoy his musical compositions and how can he share the same with Micheal. Amy is a single working mother who needs to pick up her 1 year old daughter at the daycare center before going to the poll to vote. The child is quite active and tends to wander off in public places. To make sure that her daughter does not wander off, Amy will have to hold her in her arms while she is voting. While Amy is casting her vote independently, her one year old is playing with Goseph, the vote angel who wanted to understand the voting experience in person and be prepared for next time and decided to come along on receiving the last minute call at their school portal .

How well does this concept adapt to the changing needs of different voter communities?

It prepares the younger generation towards their right to vote and be mentally prepared for the same . The ratio of adolescents in this age group should not difficult to match to the ratio of differently abled in need in any given community .

What kinds of resources – whether time, money, people, partnerships, technology or otherwise – will be needed to get this concept off the ground?

Active participation by local schools and below mentioned bodies in collaborating with the navigators ( people who need assistance ) and vote angles( children between the age of 16 to 18). • Partnerships between schools, colleges and established institutes/ resources like • National Disability Rights Network • AARP • National Council on Aging • National Institute on Aging (of the National Institutes of Health) • National Institute of Mental Health (of the National Institutes of Health) • American Foundation for the Blind • American Association of People with Disabilities • Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund

My Virtual Team and the entire open community.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dan Perkel

Have you seen this concept:

Seems like there is an opportunity to collaborate in some way. Will post something similar over there.

Photo of Mamta Gautam

Hey Dan, i also like what u suggesting about involving people with disability as well in the whole process. I have been wondering how difficult it is for people with disability to vote for the first time, this concept would be very helpful at that early stage as well.Thanks

Photo of Mamta Gautam

oops , i mean involving them from younger stage !

Photo of Meena Kadri

Nice one Mamta. I like the way you've envisioned alliances between schools and other organisations. Tip: If you hit the Update button on the right of your post you could go in and add the posts from your Virtual Team list to your Build Upon feature. That way the people who wrote them will get email notifications and are likely to come and join the exciting conversation you've started here as well. Creativity loves company, right? :^)

Photo of Mamta Gautam

Hey Meena, thanks, i followed as you mention ! yes i love creative company just like all of us !

Photo of DeletedUser


Hi Mamta, I think that your concept would right fit into
Lets leverage and join forces!

Photo of Dan Perkel

This is a great concept and I can imagine some version of it being plugged into other concepts being worked out here. I love the idea of combining aspiring voter education with assisting people with disabilities. Bringing in schools, community centers, and other programs as institutional supports is also important.

One possible next step could be to think about how aspiring voters who have disabilities could also be worked into the process. I also wonder if it's worth thinking about how the web could be used to facilitate pre- and post- election connections, training, and preparation for the next election.

Photo of Mamta Gautam

Hey Dan, it felt like a crazy idea to myself, but had to get it out ; ) my only concern was how do we ensure that children are mature enough to handle the responsibility, but then i felt when people face differently-abled citizens, its difficult not to empathize, not matter how careless or lazy a child is ! I think lets trust the adolescents and give them a chance to take up the responsibility and i also think it would create very interesting peer pressures on those youngster who don't vote ! Just wild thinking. Thanks .

Photo of Dan Perkel

I think you're right not to worry about that issue quite yet. And, there may be a way to take advantage of programs that already exist where kids or teenagers are already helping the elderly or people with disabilities (I recall doing that kind of thing with my local Jewish Community Center when I was younger).

Also, using already in place institutional structures will help insure quality. If going through a school, it might take a special after school program or some module in high school civics/social science education. But libraries, museums, community centers (e.g. YMCA, Boys and Girls Club) and other after school programs might provide a better venue.