Election Design Tools and Resources
Election Design Tools and Resources
Election Design Tools and Resources

Election Design Tools and Resources

The following ballot and election design tools and resources—created by AIGA Design for Democracy and others as noted—may be useful to election officials, legislators, equipment providers, printers, designers and press.

If you'd like assistance with human resources (hiring an Election Design Fellow or finding a designer in your area), please visit Government officials: Get help.

Design and Testing Tools

  • Ballot and polling place design guidelines and samples
    AIGA/EAC 2007 report including federal election design guidelines and complete set of editable ballot and polling place material samples (see report sections 2 through 5 and corresponding samples)
  • Top 10 election design guidelines
    AIGA's short and simple list of guidelines for the design of ballots and other election materials
  • Voting system guidelines: ballot instruction language
    National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) 2009 ballot language guidelines supersede ballot language recommendations found in the AIGA/EAC report; select “Report of Findings: Use of Language in Ballot Instructions, NIST IR 7556;” see also: the authors' top 10 guidelines for creating a plain language ballot
  • Usability testing kit for ballots/Tools-and-Resources/Publications/Design-for-Democracy/
    Usability Professionals Association (UPA) “LEO Kit” is designed for use by election officials and designers; no usability background required

Advocacy Resources

  • How Design Can Save Democracy
    An interactive exploration of ballot design improvements, by AIGA for The New York Times.
  • Design for Democracy: Ballot and Election Design
    This book by Marcia Lausen, published by AIGA and The University of Chicago Press, responds to the events of the 2000 election and illustrates subsequent improvements to election materials in the states of Illinois and Oregon
  • “Citizen-Centered Design (Slowly) Revolutionizes the Media and Experience of U.S. Elections”
    Article by AIGA for interactions magazine about Design for Democracy's partnership with the EAC, including discussion of ballot and election design challenges and AIGA's response, beyond the guidelines
  • Better Ballots
    The Brennan Center for Justice argues for better ballot design and the usability testing of ballots, observing cases where poor ballot design has led to measurable errors.

Election News and Research

  • Research Database on the U.S. Voting System and Voting Technology
    American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) provides access to research about voting and elections from broad sources including Caltech/MIT's Voting Technology Project (VTP) and Election Data Services
  • Election Administration Reports
    These biweekly newsletters cover election legislation updates, election technology and accessibility, government reports about election administration and topics aliressed at national meetings of election officials

Information and Community Resources

Election Governance, Officials and Equipment

National associations of, and resources for, election officials—government employees who run local U.S. elections

  • Election Center
  • IACREOT (International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers)
  • NASED (National Association of State Election Directors)

Leading providers of voting equipment in the United States, including proprietary and emerging open-source solutions

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