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Sensually-maximized Tommy Ballot - “See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Hear Me”

Why is a ballot only visual or auditory? This ballot contains as many input and output methods as possible for universal usage. All the tactile, visual and auditory info is embedded in the ballot, enabling all devices to interact with it.

Photo of Tina Lee
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Why is a ballot only visual or auditory? As human beings, we have multiple senses to perceive the same information. For voting, we should be able to use all of our abilities to read the ballot and cast our votes.Therefore, the voters will not only be free to choose one or more methods that they feel comfortable using, but it will also be easier for the poll workers to set the systems up.


The concept of a sensually-maximized tommy ballot is that one ballot contains as many input and output methods as possible for universal usage. Multiple inputs include using touch, speech, eye tracking. Multiple outputs (feedback) include color coded text, images/icons, audio, vibration are provided to all the voters. The user should be able to use all inputs and outputs at the same time

In addition, the ballot is simple enough to ensure universal understanding. For example, Julia is blind and has arthritis. By using this system, she can hear voice output and read tactile braille to cast vote using simple gestural inputs and voice input. Jack is a college student. He will have a choice getting all input and output methods, but he is likely to focus on text, but can use voice output to stay awake while voting.

Finally, all the tactile, visual and auditory info is embedded in the ballot, enabling all devices to interact with it. Voters will be able to use the ballot with multiple platforms through a secured system. In this way, no matter which platform voters use, including traditional voting machines or their own internet capable mobile tablets, they will be able to receive and provide information in the same way.

How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?

This tommy ballot is universally accessible to all voters and to all devices. It also will facilitate set up and assistance by poll workers.

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

Using the tommy ballot, there is no need for different voter communities to set up to access the ballot.

My Virtual Team

This idea came from the class "explorations in universal design: enigma voting machines" from Georgia Tech.

Xiao Xiong
Yilin Liu
Tina Lee
Jon Sanford

3 comments

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Photo of Meena

Great to have you Georgia Tech-heads join us on this challenge! Fab exploration – though I'm a bit confused about the term "tommy ballot" Can you help me (and any others who are in the dark) to understand this term? Hoping to see more of you all on OpenIDEO – chiming in on others' concepts too.

Photo of Jon

Tommy was the protagonist of The Who's 1969 rock opera "Tommy" which was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame and has sold 20 million copies worldwide. Tommy, traumatized by seeing his father kill his mother's lover becomes blind, deaf and mute. In the meantime, Tommy becomes a pinball wizard:
He's a pin ball wizard
There has got to be a twist.
A pin ball wizard,
S'got such a supple wrist.

How do you think he does it? I don't know!
What makes him so good?'

He ain't got no distractions
Can't hear those buzzers and bells,
Don't see lights a flashin'
Plays by sense of smell.
Always has a replay,
'N' never tilts at all
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pin ball.

The last song of the album is See me, feel me. The chorus goes:
See me
Feel me
Touch me
Heal me.

Thus the reference to see me, feel me, touch me, hear me.

Photo of James

I like the idea of a smell-based ballot. Campaigns could send out literature with the candidate's party's smell on them. That same smell is then replicated on the ballot.

It might mean that people would vote simply because of the smell and not for any other reason. Then again, that's no worse than some of the reasoning voters use today.