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butterfly ballot

We all remember the butterfly ballot that led to so much talk about the validity of the 2000 Election. This is a very good example of poor information design.
A redesign would be extremely simple.
Assuming the same machine functions the same way and is the same size, I would design something based on the following.

  • No “butterfly effect”
  • Use strong (bold) text for the main party candidates, by the definition used to determine the major parties that recieve federal funding
  • Alternate colors between rows. Either white and yellow or white and green
  • On the left side, list the party name with the symbol of the party
  • On the right side, list the candidates for that party, with a picture of each candidate
  • The “write-in” section would remain at the bottom

By losing the “butterfly effect”, you lose most of the reason for confusion. Adding stronger text for the major parties help to people to recall the major candidates, avoiding giving a third-party candidate his highest single-county results. Alternative colors help people verify which names correspond with what punch hole. Splitting the data with the punch hole between further reduces possible conflicts on where to punch. The use of the party symbols is to aid non-English speaking voters.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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