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Designing a Better Voting System--Please.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on November 7, 2006

I just voted in New York City. There were three people at the desk by the door as I entered, looking up addresses and voting districts. Then another four people at another desk—Inspectors—making sure there was no fraud. Then into the voting booth—with little levers to pull for each choice and one big lever to make my choices official.

This is the 21st century. We’ve got to design a better way.

Reader Comments


November 7, 2006 3:06 PM

I think they should make voting like shopping and each candidate will get they bar code placed on a red or blue bottle with their name and picture on it. You will go in a booth with the shelves of bottles and pick out the candidates you want to vote for and then proceed to self checkout. At the end you have to pay with a coupon given to you when you enter the polling place. Your selections would then be printed on a receipt for you and a copy for the polling place. You would place the bottles in a recycle bin before leaving and someone would periodically restock the booth.

Ally Polly

November 8, 2006 2:03 AM

Give the assigment to the design folks at Apple. I just got an
Ipod Shuffle today. If they can put 240 songs/1 GB in a device the size of a piece of bazooka gum, they can do anything.

Ally Polly

November 8, 2006 2:13 AM

Let the folks at Apple design a state of the art voting booth.
I just got my Ipod Shuffle today, and if they can fit 240 songs/1 GB
on a device the size of a piece of bazooka gum, they can do anything!

Stephan Lukac

November 8, 2006 2:58 AM

The US government is rife with old archaic systems that just don't work. Even with a huge budget for voting improvements they still cant even come close to the innovation that we see in other more progressive Political Groups. I received an email from a Political Action Group that supports the Democratic Party. It was an urgent message (aren’t they always) but I decided to take a look. After reading the email and taking a look at the site I was blown off my chair. MoveOn has developed a website that allows anyone to call the list of registered voters and encourage them to vote. It’s a "virtual call center" with the recommended script and buttons to register the response, or to call back at a later date. Here is a link to the practice screen:

Since I registered with them from my Florida address they personalize it for the District that corresponds to me (the 22nd) and they display the Political candidate that corresponds. I would suppose that the telephone numbers that they provide are personalized to the district for even greater relevance.

This is a great example of utilizing technology to empower everyday citizens and provide them with the tools that they need to make political change, even from the comfort of their own home. That my friends is innovation, giving the everyday joe the ability to contact others and motivate them to participate in politics. Machines like the ones that Bruce describe don't do this, as the "kerching" sound of registering your vote leaves an empty feeling and makes me wonder if my vote really did count…

Josh Seiden

November 9, 2006 2:28 PM


November 9, 2006 7:45 PM

Sometimes the old designs work best. Voting is something that needs less design not more. I vote in DC. And we have the most intuitive system that is old fashioned and that I've never seen before. You get a ballot in an envelope. By each candidate's name is a broken arrow. Complete the arrow for the people that you want. Put the ballot back in the envelope. And bringing it to the 'check out.' You feed your ballot into the machine (its very quick and satisfy). Your vote is counted at that time, and you get your "I Voted" sticker. And you're done. It's all very simple and easy. And the little machine that reads your ballot is sort of fun.


March 15, 2007 7:40 AM


voting system should be globalised...

need a "Mobile Voting Application" should be launched in every upcoming mobiles get should be maintained by a admin through online.

Then it ll be easy to vote.. as we r in 21 century...!

MBT Shoes Online

May 30, 2010 11:32 AM

It's so lucky for me to find your blog! So shocking and great! Just one suggestion: It will be better and easier to follow.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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