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The Surprisingly Versatile Design of the Voting Booth

The Surprisingly Versatile Design of the Voting Booth
Reuters

Happy Voting Day, America! Today, more than 100 million Americans are expected to take to the voting booths, and we hope every one of our readers is among them!

Which leads us to the topic of this post: the voting booth. In a video posted this morning on the New York Times, funny guy Mo Rocca explores the design of America’s voting ballots, which he finds "in need of a makeover." Citing the Florida ballot kerfuffle of 2000 and George W. Bush’s subsequent election, Rocca claims that the graphic interface of a ballot can, in fact, impact the course of world history. That might be an overstatement–it’s questionable how large design’s role in changing the world is–but it’s presence in the democratic process is undeniable.

Integral to that process is the voting booth, the design of which matters surprisingly little when considered alongside its chief function: to provide a private space in which one can cast their vote away from prying eyes, zealous party devotees, and other coercive meddlers.

Whether consisting of curtains and railing or just cardboard dividers, the voting booth is almost always meek. But frail though its construction may seem, it more than overcomes these limitations through symbolic capital, namely, the mechanism by which the secret vote is preserved. The voting booth empowers the individual to exercise his or her right to elect their own leaders–and that’s quite an achievement. In the spirit of voting, we thought we’d look at voting stations across the world, from Egypt to Venezuela, Papa New Guinea to Kenya. They all come in different shapes and sizes, but they’re all witnesses to the same goal.


USA, photo by spirit of america/Shutterstock


Australia, photo by Tim Wimborne/Reuters


Kenya, photo by Noor Khamis/Reuters


Afghanistan, photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters


Egypt, photo by Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters


India, photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters


Venezuela, photo by Reuters

Top image: Fred Prouser/Reuters

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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