Mike Segar/Reuters Voter turnout in the US is often criticized for being dismally low — and indeed, a significant portion of Americans don’t go to the polls. When measuring votes cast as a percentage of the estimated voting-age population, the US ranks 31st among the 35 OECD countries. In 2012, just 53.6% of the population voted in the presidential election.
There are a myriad of reasons why people choose not to vote — they might not feel their beliefs are represented by elected officials in their district, they may think their vote can’t make a difference in the way government is run, or perhaps just don’t support any candidate on a given ballot.
Fixing those issues is an extremely complicated and complex proposition. But according to designers, there are a host of smaller, less policy-oriented ways to make the voting booth more pleasant, accessible, and desirable on election day. Business Insider asked four designers what changes they'd make to increase voter turnout.
Here are some of their ideas.
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Give people free food or coupons as they leave the polls.
Reuters In an ideal world, having a say in choosing our nation’s next leader should be enough motivation for people to vote. But the statistics suggest otherwise.
Geoff Cook, a partner at Base Design branding studio, takes a realistic approach, suggesting that “as America is the capitalist society in the world, we would also add some commercial incentives to get people to the booths.”
Those incentives, he says, could come in a variety of forms. Companies could be offered sponsorships of polling places, giving them the chance to become the “official national hot dog” or “official beer” of a given election in exchange for handing out free goodies. Sponsors could also give voters discount cards, like 10% off at Macy’s or Amazon.
This way, “voters are incentivized to vote, and America’s greatest businesses get added shoppers and national exposure,” Cook says.
Turn the booths into a canvas for art.