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The following best practices report was created by AIGA Design for Democracy on behalf of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
(EAC). It contains guidelines and samples for the design of
ballots—optical scan and touchscreen (direct-recording electronic or
DRE)—and polling place voter information materials. Legislation, design
principles and extensive research with voters, experts, election
officials, poll workers and voting equipment providers heavily inform
these resources. The report also summarizes research findings and offers
insights about design planning and implementation. For summary
recommendations, view the top 10 election design guidelines. For more information about the project, view our EAC project case study. For help implementing the guidelines in this report, please visit Government officials: Get help.
Select desired report section(s) 1–8 and download. Sample and image files are offered further below.
For report sections 2–5, files containing sample materials and ballot
designs are provided for viewing and editing. For section 3 (optical
scan ballots), image files containing instructional illustrations and
icons are also provided.
All sample files are available in both PDF and InDesign formats, image files are in TIFF and Illustrator formats. Election
officials may wish to view PDFs and TIFFs. Only professional designers
should seek InDesign (INDD) and Illustrator (EPS) files.
Designers will need InDesign and Illustrator CS2 (or higher) software
for Mac or PC. Ideally, designers will have access to the Univers font
family (Light, Bold for ballots; Roman, Black for voter information
materials); other sans serif fonts may be substituted. Software and
fonts may be purchased at www.adobe.com. (Note: AIGA members receive a discount on Adobe products.)
Section 2: Voter information materialsNote: 80 samples are offered. For information regarding their
display, printing instructions and fulfillment of HAVA mandates, please
refer to report section 2, pages 2.6–2.7.
All voter information materials as PDFs (2.6 MB, ZIP)All voter information materials as InDesign CS2 files (49.2 MB, ZIP)
Section 3: Optical scan ballot samples and imagesNote: Please refer to the design specifications found in report section 3, pages 3.6–3.57 while working with samples and images.
All optical scan ballot samples as PDFs (1 MB, ZIP)
All optical scan ballot images as TIFF files (764 KB, ZIP)All optical scan ballot images as Illustrator CS2 files (2.6 MB, ZIP)
Section 4: Full-face DRE ballot samplesNote: Please refer to the design specifications found in report section 4, pages 4.6–4.25 while working with samples.
All full-face DRE ballot samples as PDFs (164 KB, ZIP)All full-face DRE ballot samples as InDesign CS2 files (4.8 MB, ZIP)
Section 5: Rolling DRE ballot (touchscreen) samplesNote: These files contain 40 pages of screens and states supporting
the range of tasks associated with touchscreen voting. These samples are
more conceptual than those provided for optical scan ballots, as
variation across touchscreen voting equipment is much broader. Please
refer to the flow diagram provided in report section 5, pages 5.7–5.8, as well as to design specifications throughout this report section, while working with samples.
Rolling DRE ballot samples as PDF files (3.6 MB, ZIP)Rolling DRE ballot samples as InDesign CS2 files (7.8 MB, ZIP)
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