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187- Butterfly Effects

2015-11-03 | 🔗

Ballots are an essential component to a working democracy, yet they are rarely created (or even reviewed) by design professionals. Good ballot design is mainly a matter of following good design principles in general—familiar territory for graphic designers, but not … Continue reading →

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars. Begin. There's someone our producers same Greenspan would like you to meet case. Eight, who you are you know me, I'm your grandmother. My name is in great fear. Campaigns Grandmother Jean Greenspan is my father's mother. I call her grandma genie. She grew up. Dream depression and because her family got a lot of help from Sdr and the new deal grandma gene. He is a democrat this has been always will be Grandma you ever voted for a republican or anyone who wasn't a Democrat now now now matador. Never never never do that. We called for democratic and so on the floor. Tuesday after the first Monday in November, in the year, two thousand grandma Genie hopped on her three wheel bike and peddled over to the community centre in her retirement village, and should it, but she always does she voted a straight democratic ticket or at least she thought she did grammar. Can you tell me where You live our now. I live in central village was palm beach flower.
And I M what county eleven count upon each having an election in turmoil, a presidency in the ballot who will emerge that winter in the historic Florida Rica. I believe that people upon each county have entrusted us to voice their right to participate in their government. I move that this boy conductor manual, recount of all the balance for the presidential elections, the election was close, but tonight after a calf and yet manual recap: cemetery. Changing our honoured and humble one. The state of Florence was needed electoral goes to win the elections as a quick refresher. The two thousand presidential race between Republican George, W Bush in Democratic Al Gore, came down to contested votes in Florida, and one of the four counties at the centre of the controversy was Palm Beach County voters paper ballots, where you indicate your choice by punching out holes with a metal Stick palm beach counties
known as the butterfly ballot had choices of candidates spread over two pages with the holes. The punch out in between them, but Some found a way out, confusing, Voters who wanted to cast their vote for George W Bush had no problem. It was clear that the correct hold to punch was the very first one right at the top, but there is some ambiguity about which was the right hold to punch to indicate a vote for Al Gore. Was it the second one down right after Bush, or was it the third one down Gore was actually the third one down the way the ballot was set up. Some voters who believe they were voting for Al Gore, actually cast a vote for Patrick, be cannon you can be being the extremely conservative reform party candidate and there is So a problem with the physical ballots themselves, namely the Chad's when you
punch, a hole and something that Chad is the little piece of paper or cardboard or whatever it is that gets plunged out and in theory it should be completely punch out, but sometimes it does doesn't happen. Sometimes the Chad's hang on and in the case of the two thousand election, if the Chad was still hanging on the ballot, counting machine couldn't always read the ballot and for the, but who would eventually count them by hand in the recount the auditors had to interpret the intent of the voter. And these hanging Chad's became Wait infamous as well, because in re tabulating, the vote you had to me assumptions about whether a hanging Chad was a vote for a particular candidate, or it was a mistake. That's a Karen monies, Eric Heron and I'm the elderly family, professor of political science at West Virginia University, and I
focused my research on elections, electoral systems and so because of this faulty ballot in Palm Beach county. My grandma Genie dyed in the wool new deal, Democrat from the jewish tenements of New York City might have accidently endorsed a third party candidate who embraces all the things that she is against, and then what we would call? I was really embarrassing. We found she that we felt guilty. I felt guilty that I voted for them person retirement Community Century village was act we called out by salon, dot com and other news outlets as pulling unusually high for path. You can there's exe of research, to show that the votes cast for Buchanan in Palm Beach County extraordinarily high. They were, anomalies in the region and in general and the best explanation for thus spike in support for Patrick Buchanan was the design of the ban.
Even Pat Buchanan himself admitted that his high numbers were probably due to an error now, but fly ballot was only one small piece of the debacle that was the two thousand election in Florida Alot, absentee ballots were counted correctly. There was a manual recount that was started and stopped, and later It would come out of the state of Florida wrongfully denied the right to vote to at least twelve thousand people, disproportionate number of whom were people of color, all this in an election were the margin of victory, was fewer than six hundred votes. There were a number of incidents in Florida in the two thousand elections that were politically charged and potentially motivated by partisan intent, but the design of the butterfly ballot is much more likely.
A case of malpractice than malice? It was a classic design, fail, it's a poorly designed ballot. It is a ballot that does not take into account the way that a voter would look at the ballot. And use the particular technology in place at the time punch card technology to cast their vote, ballot is designed object that is critically important for democracy, but in the United States, its almost never designed by an actual design, professional and as such, our liberty is being infringed upon by the tyranny of bad design. The oldest recorded instances of a boat is from the ancient Greek play the humanities by escalates story arrested is on trial for the murder of his mother. Twelve years line up and take turns placing a stone in one or two signify guilty or in another earned to signify not guilty, and this note
if the stone as a marker, of a vote, it's an said stock and the greek word safer which means small, stone or pebble is the root of Safari Gee or the study of elections and as Erika Erin tells it himself a to the whole stone and he earned set up was not to different than how elections in the United States were originally conducted. So in the early U S, elections, you will find voters casting a voice vote. They fish We had to make their way to the polling place and announced their vote, and one of the things you do sacrifices the privacy of your vote in, The jewels, know who you are voting for and what that can engender, is pressure on voters to support one candid, or another, and the Poles were not calm, places with orderly lines. You could be badgered and pressured into voting a certain way. Early elections in the United States often featured liquor and violence and fraud Voters would have to pay
or shove, or be physically to express their right to vote in fact, in election could be so rock is that it served as an argument for some against women suffrage Elect were deemed, is inappropriate for women to attend. Then, in the late eating hundreds election supervisors realised that having people vote by speaking their choices allowed was terrible idea, the lack of privacy could lead to coercion and those who did vote. Their conscience had no way to verify that their vote was being recorded, actor and this all led to the advent of the paper ballot called a ticket, but, unlike the balance we have today, these were printed not by the government but by political parties poetic. All parties would print their own ballots, that voters would take with them to the polling place. Now these quickly, printed in newspapers they could be printed by the parties themselves and distributed and the Would turn in that party ticket the party ticket
would generally only have the candidates from that party on them. So if say, you wanted mostly Republicans, you go get a republican party, the kid and then you cross out the candidates that you don't want and then the right in or literally cut and paste p of paper with your Canada's names onto that ticket, and this is the origin of the term to cast a split ticket or a straight ticket but this system also had problems for one parties could make tickets that looked like those of their opponents, but actually had their own candidates listed green voters into voting for their own party. Nonstandard ballots also created other opportunities for shenanigans, like racketeering schemes which facilitated all black market of buying and selling votes, and so the party too, it system was increasing fair election either so in the late nineteenth century. There is an innovation that is, imported from abroad. It's called the australian ballot, and the australian ballot is government,
printed ballot that is destroyed, to voters who come to appalling place and they cast their ballot in price and this australian ballot system was a game changer. First of all, we started dream ballots more, like currency administrators have to store them securely. They have to secure them safely. They have to maintain clear chain of custody over them to maintain the integrity of the election process often printed on special paper to undermine counterfeiting or efforts to commit fraud and with the australian ballot as a point of departure, pull places in the. U S began to see new machines that interface with the official government printed ballots. There were machines, were you pull levers or use a middle rod to punch holes out of an optical scan ballot like we saw with the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County Florida in the two thousand election day there this tremendous variation in how each county conducts its elections. If you move it,
ass, a county line, your pulling place could use an entirely different balloting system because here's really crazy thing about elections in the? U s. Unlike much Western Europe Canada. Australia, South Africa, India in May, other industrialized democracies, the you runs its elections at a hyper local level, because the, U S decentralized, this whole process. You have a patchwork of election procedures all across the country and it can vary at the county level or even within some counties as to how ballots are counted and processed we do this because that's what the constitution tells us to do. It says that stage, our conduct elections and the states generally delegate elections down to municipal governments, partly because voters have so many things to vote. For that. Each municipal government requires its own balance. We vote for
so many public officials, everything from president to drain commissioner, can be on a ballot yet Michigan, I grew up in Michigan. You can vote for county drain, commissioner, in so, given that each county is responsible for running its own elections, every county is on their own. They could hire a desire to make the ballots they could not. Higher does honour to make the balance. It all depends on what each elect official wants to do and that more than malicious intent may be how Grandma Genie and her Elk voted for the wrong guy and two thousand exactly Papua and is a religious fundamentalists kind of guy, not the sort of person that a bunch of jewish grannies are gonna, be voting for the few tested out this ballot in the kind of pilot test or run what we call usability test even with just a few people that this issue would have surfaced pretty quickly. That's d:
and she is now she's a user experience designer and I do applied research about design in voting in elections, Dana alone, with her colleague, Whitney Cuisine, vary with the centre for civic design, have made their mission to bring design theory and practice to elections in election administration, usability testing, doesn't get done. Pilot testing on kinds of designs doesn't get done so Dana CO, authored, a set of feed the guides to ensure voter intent, design manuals for elections, officials and the very first one in a series was to design usable ballots. So one of our recommendations is useless case letters. These mix case mixed case print is just easier to read that all cats, this is actually been proven and studies we also say avoid centred type centre. Type four wedding invitations and wine labels really doesn't belong a form, especially when, like this
other recommendations, include using pay enough type in New York and twenty twelve. I think these six, pointing their on it's not on key undefined magnifying glasses in New York voting boots. The centre for civic design also recommends using one sands sheriff fought. If you look at some of these balance their country, they look like ransom notes. There are lots of AIR France type families that are used. The whole thing is this basically screaming at you We can com all that down I'm quite a bit by just going with one. Answer of fun. The suggestions in the guide books for how to design a good ballot are akin to designing a good anything when designers get ahold of these things. There like this, is design, one, no one, but it actually visuals, don't notice and election of fish Those, unlike normal clients, often have to. Hold legislation requiring them to use bad design. If you,
who go. Look at election code in practically every state. Design of the ballot is legislated. What's a typeface what size it should be? What the grid is it bad designs, legislated, oh yeah, almost almost exclusively making. They also need to change laws. But one thing that might solve ballots for good is standardizing. Now it's actually a project which damage is now and the centre for it might solve ballots for good- is standardizing. There is actually applied which damage is now and the centre for civic design are also working on. They ve developed a prototype called the anywhere about it's a touch green system, where you can receive text adjust contrast, navigate easily verify that you voted for, he meant to vote for and it's open source, so any elections official can use it. Though dean is quick to admit that it. Probably won't eliminate all forms of unfairness, our something always goes wrong. I just hope that it will not be major design disaster, the election,
officials. Prayer is, may the margins be wide. May the margins be wide and the arts ever in your favour? We often dont think of winter is a time of growth or creation, but if you think about it, it's the perfect time to greet your own website, because your cooped up you, thinkin about being productive and now square space can help you do it with squares. Bates can take your cool ideas. You ve creative content, your services, goods, and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks this, because there is do you
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.