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December 2, 2000
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When you're an aiga member they send you e-mail, I usualy don't read them, because they're accouncements of conferences and such, but this one was about Chicago enlisting the help of AIGA to design new election ballots. 'Some possibilities for making Chicago ballots more user-friendly include enlarging candidates' names, changing the font size, altering the color of pages, making wider ballot booklets.' Since I couldn't find the article on-line, I'll just cut-n-paste the e-mail inside. :)
posted by tiaka (8 comments total)

 
CITY ELECTS TO GET HELP SO BALLOTS ARE SIMPLER

By Courtney Challos
Tribune Staff Writer
November 29, 2000

Chicago election officials said Tuesday they have enlisted the help of a trade group of graphic artists to simplify ballots and reduce the kind of confusion that led many voters here and in Florida earlier this month to invalidate their candidate selections.

Langdon Neal, chairman of the city Board of Election Commissioners, said the agency has formed a partnership with the American Institute of Graphic Arts, a nationwide organization representing graphic designers whose job it is to make everything from company benefit statements to street signs visually understandable.

Neal said members of the group will donate time to help the city streamline ballots and make them easier to navigate by the March 2002 primary.

"When you're involved in elections all the time, sometimes you have blinders on in how you do things," Neal said. "What we need is someone from the outside, who is skilled in the presentation of material, to make comments and recommendations to us."

Bob Zeni, a spokesman for the graphic-arts group, said some possibilities for making Chicago ballots more user-friendly include enlarging candidates' names, changing the font size, altering the color of pages, making wider ballot booklets to prevent cramped information and simplifying instructions for punch cards.

Neal said the city board plans to share the group's recommendations with Cook County Clerk David Orr, who oversees suburban elections.

This month's ballot in the city and suburbs was criticized by many voters as hard to follow because too many candidate names were squeezed on pages of the ballot book. Many irate voters singled out the lengthy judicial portion of the ballot for criticism. It listed the names of dozens of judges seeking retention around a densely packed central strip of punch holes in a "butterfly" format.

Zeni said that ballot design caught the attention of the trade association's Chicago chapter, which has nearly 1,300 members.

"The judicial retention section is traditionally a difficult area because there are so many judges and so little space," Zeni said. "I think, like many voters, we felt that it was not easy to read, it was not easy to understand and it was difficult to match the punch hole with the actual person."

The group contacted election officials after Nov. 7 to discuss helping revamp the ballot, said Thomas Leach, a spokesman for the Board of Election Commissioners.

Commissioners on Monday passed a resolution forming a partnership with the group, Leach said.

"We think the combination of election expertise and graphic-artist skills might be a spectacular combination that would result in a much better product for the voting public," Neal said.

Lance Rutter, president of the group's Chicago chapter, said its members would not only work with the city to improve the ballot but also develop voter education materials featuring candidate biographies and try to improve the physical process of entering the voting booths, making selections and turning in ballots.

"The citizens deserve a good voting experience and the comfort of knowing the process will work," said Rutter, who also is president of a Chicago communication design consulting firm. "We're all about making things work."

*****
Comments regarding this email should be forwarded to info@aigachicago.org


posted by tiaka at 12:51 PM on December 2, 2000


And, I can't spell. : ((
posted by tiaka at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2000


Well, the Cook County judge ballots were very very bad. Having Yes/No on a butterfly format just isn't hot, and was mighty confusing.

I think the answer is a bright fuschia ballot, using 24pt Silkscreen Expanded Bold.
posted by hijinx at 4:12 PM on December 2, 2000


A graphic showing the Nov. 7 ballot and AIGA's suggested ballot will appear on the commentary page of tomorrow's Sunday Tribune (Page 21 of Section 1, I believe). The added clarity and usability is striking. Had the county consulted AIGA before the election, I might have made it through the entire ballot.

Oh, and the story above can be found here.
posted by luke at 6:38 PM on December 2, 2000


DoublePostGuy whispers in my ear that this was posted before ... by me ...

Oh well, it WAS a big day, as I noted ...
posted by dhartung at 9:40 PM on December 2, 2000


Since when did Chigaco become worried about electoral impropriety?

posted by Optamystic at 11:45 PM on December 2, 2000


A graphic showing the Nov. 7 ballot and AIGA's suggested ballot will appear on the commentary page of tomorrow's Sunday Tribune (Page 21 of Section 1, I believe).

It would be interesting to see what AIGA comes up with -- looked on the Tribune site. Nothing there yet.
posted by leo at 11:53 PM on December 2, 2000


Opt, it took us a LOOOOOOONG time to root out the bad apples. Don't start.

There's still corruption in Chicago politics, but it's less of the precinct-boss-with-iron-fist type and more of the sweetheart-deal-gets-the-city-contract type. Not strictly illegal, necessarily, but skirting the spirit of the ethics laws. The people today just wouldn't put up with political bosses telling them how to vote.

I remember when these three Daley election workers (last mayoral) trolled through my friend's neighborhood. He's a progressive Naderite and yelled at them to peddle their wares elsewhere. They, three young clean-cut guys who could almost pass for Mormon missionaries, just laughed.
posted by dhartung at 10:22 AM on December 3, 2000


« Older Third-world organ peddling.   |   Saint Chad Newer »


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