Electoral Design Master's Thesis
New York, NY, USA
Switzerland is a small country where people vote as often as all other countries in the world combined. While this is a good thing for democracy, notable election design issues make voting harmful to the environment, expensive for taxpayers, and confusing to the voters. The amount of resources used for elections is extraordinarily high, and productions costs are expensive. The work abstracted here is the result of my Graduate Thesis, an 18-month research process, leading to a capstone that provides potential solutions to these problems through graphic design, by creating voting kits with reduced environmental footprint and financial costs. Familiar to the system thanks to my Swiss roots and Political Science background, I used this opportunity to provide citizens with an improved user experience, by solving infamous, confusing design issues that make some people vote for the opposite of their stated intent.
The current look and feel of the voting experience vary widely from one place to another, lacking a consistent identity at the federal level. This solution shows how a modular branding using strong, national symbols to which Swiss people identify can still be adaptable to the local particularities of each of our 26 cantons, 2,222 municipalities, and four languages.
The central symbol is a Swiss cross made of three parts, symbolizing the three federative levels constituting the country and at which people vote. The missing piece in the upper-left corner symbolizes the citizen’s vote. Each level is color-coded so people can quickly identify at which level they are voting.
The study of the electoral design in place showed poor type efficiency, resulting in a massive waste of paper, ink, and money, that can be dramatically reduced by selecting a more efficient typeface and improving layout design. Voting booklets contain a lot of information and are printed in considerable quantities. Every year, every one of the 5,345,000 voters gets an average of 12 brochures, all of which eventually end up in the trash.
These redesigns increase legibility and treat content differently depending on the audience. It improves the access and readability of core information while limiting waste.
Typefaces impact both ink usage and paper real-estate. After testing nine fonts on an existing booklet, I ended up selecting Frutiger for all applications: it is efficient, flexible, Swiss made, and already used by the government for other communication purposes.
This redesigned voting ecosystem consists of three different voting packages that people get depending on how they want to vote. While its central goal is to promote online voting, it also encourages people to be proud of their rights, by converting part of the envelope into a “My voice counts” wristband to be worn on the voting day. It also solves issues of the current design to avoid bouncing and invalid ballots, and introduces Braille instructions on the envelope.
Voting kit type I:
Voting kit types II & III:
Today, e-voting is available to 30% of the population, and its security is still being assessed. This concept shows how an app can make e-voting fast and easy while relying on the blockchain for enhanced security. It works with a personal scannable VoteCode that provides access to a unique ballot box.
E-voting will shortly be the ultimate way to save natural resources and money, and people who use it should be able to opt-out of receiving printed voting kits.
Electoral Design Master's Thesis