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Personal voter guidance system

Voting starts long before the official election days - we get motivated to vote by issues, candidates, or things we hear in our community. Can we start to build our ballot choices even before the ballot is created.

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Written by DeletedUser

Many things can motivate voters to get involved. Can we create an app that would let each voter build their own "guidance system" over time?

For example, maybe an issue like voting on school funds gets someone thinking about voting. Maybe they need some time to gather information pro and con, or maybe they already know how they want to vote. They open the app, and indicate their first choice. 

They are not marking an official ballot at this point, but saving their choices. The app stores all of these choices, allowing them  to build an information base and even change their mind, until the official ballot is ready.

When the official ballot is ready, the app could deliver it to them, and transfer their choices into the ballot format. At that point, any of the concepts for DIY Voting or Marking a ballot Anywere or mobile voting would take over. 

How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?

This meets the needs of the voter personas in different ways. George, who has trouble with his memory, likes being able to pull everything together into one place. As he makes decisions, he prints a copy to help him remember what he has done. He might take these notes with him to the polling place. Angela takes more time to go through the materials, without feeling rushed. She is able to make decisions about how to cast her ballot in a way that doesn’t tire her out Minjun likes the option for video because he understands spoken English better than written language. It also helps with his vision issues. Charlie likes that he can go over the material as much as he likes. Sometimes he gets a little stuck in the research phase, so the reminders from the election department help him remember to actually vote. Tasha needs a format that works with her screen reader. She likes that she can get the sample ballot as soon as it is available, so she can can check the format and get help if she needs it.

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

This allows voters time to think, learn, and make their choice. It catches them at whatever point they get interested in the election. It could connect to a system like TurboVote that sends them reminders of dates and deadlines, or to information about polling places.

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

The basic app concept is not that difficult, but it would need to be customized for each election district to make sure the voter got the right information about what is on their ballot.

My Virtual Team

This concept was developed at an accessible election design workshop run by the ITIF Accessible Voting Technology Initiative and CATEA - - along with many inspirations on OpenIDEO.


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Photo of Paul Reader

Great idea Whitney et al.!

If George doesn't have the technology he can write things down for himself, perhaps accessing the Voter Help Hub who will make an appointment for him if necessary and remind him near and at the time to vote. If ballots are available locally before hand he, like anyone else can use his home privacy to complete the ballot then lodge it in a relaxed atmosphere.
The real magic is in combining the simple concept options to provide flexibility for all including those working in polling places.

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