The Challenge

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How might we design an accessible election experience for everyone? read the brief

Idea

Voting is about your future! - Teaching children also changes parents behaviour ...

Remembering my childhood when not allowed to vote, we would still accompany our parents to the polls on the voting day. This made us interested and opened discussions about the why and how. We could not wait to be allowed to vote when old enough!
In elementary school teaching about elections and the democratic system is part of the curriculum. Even more so there are many initiatives and organizations engaging in promoting to play an active role in the democratic system to children. Example children's parliaments
http://www.kinderparlament.at/
http://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/

For me this is about connecting family, education and community in their responsibility for the future. We are all a little bit responsible for the future in that we all have a voice in the decision what path to take.

How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?
Before elections Schools have the task to explain the election processes and the choices there are. This includes the importance of people being able to come to vote for any reasons (many concepts in this initiative already address which groups there are). In the days of the Internet, social media and blogs, it is key for candidates to get their message across to voters. Why not include the future generations early and explain to children what they stand for. On the election day the whole family, including people from your neighborhood who might have difficult access to voting locations, will go to voting locations together. In my hometown the voting locations are sometimes in schools and old peoples homes. A hint that voting is about community! After elections Continue education about how to become a responsible citizen and teach children how to use their voice in a truly constructive way for the future of our planet.
How well does this concept adapt to the changing needs of different voter communities?
This concept is about Inclusion along communities, ages and cultures. As a society changes and develops it will become even more crucial to practice / execute its functions in an inclusive way.
What kinds of resources – whether time, money, people, partnerships, technology or otherwise – will be needed to get this concept off the ground?
A change of attitude and a willingness to work together

Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

Jutta Jerlich

March 09, 2012, 12:00PM
I agree - it is a mutual dependency as I strongly believe that it exists between generations. Both sides benefit.

Mamta Gautam

March 09, 2012, 08:40AM
Hey Jutta, yes your concept would establish all the homework that a old teenager should be aware of. Once they are aware of the process in theory -they would look forward to their chance to be a vote angle. Also, by directly communicating with differently-abled citizens would help them empathize from a very early stage and be more sensitive to such special engines in our society. However i am careful that it should like a mutual dependence and not appear that a teenager is obliging someone with special needs. Make it a mutual dependence equation for both - the vote angle and the navigator.

Dan Perkel

March 07, 2012, 17:47PM
Here is an intriguing concept that suggests mobilizing "Vote Angels" in the form of aspiring voters (older teenagers) to assist those with disabilities. See:

http://www.openideo.com/open/voting/concepting/vote-angel-design-for-mutual-dependence./

It seems that there is room to bring together these concepts in some interesting way. As noted, physically going to the polling place and watching people vote can be a powerful learning experience as it contributes to people's identities as citizens. Playing an active role helping someone else vote could really add to this experience.

Jutta Jerlich

March 08, 2012, 03:12AM
Thanks Dan for your comment.
I completely agree with it.
I am convinced that the more benefits a concepts brings together with more stakeholders involved, the higher is the chance that it will become a sustainable self-driven initiative where people involved take full ownership.

Lets connect and join forces for the cause!

Dan Perkel

March 08, 2012, 04:31AM
I'm just the middle-man, though I'd love to see where this could go. Have you contacted http://www.openideo.com/profiles/mamta12/ about the concept she was exploring?

Jutta Jerlich

March 08, 2012, 05:22AM
Good thinking, thanks, just did that.
It would need to be added under "Concepts this built upon" - maybe this would even need a function like "Concepts this relates to" - I can imagine that would also really help in the evaluation phase as well.

Julie Lythgoe

February 29, 2012, 20:20PM
I echo a great idea to educate early and to encourage family participation. I am aware of some locations where High School students can also volunteer to work as Poll Workers on election day and it is part of their course curriculum (they are guided by their Teacher and report on the experience). I do believe there are age requirements so this may be limited to 17-18 yr old HS students. Perhaps an addition could be a parent/child volunteer effort - create opportunities where parents can volunteer along with bringing their child and learn together. There is "Bring your child to work day" - perhaps there can be a bring your child to volunteer and vote day!

Jutta Jerlich

February 27, 2012, 10:12AM
Thank you, Whitney.
I think that combining leads to synergies, better use of resources and results involving as many stakeholders as possible.
I think that we can learn from organizations that have already been engaging in teaching children how democracy works. I am sure that they have different ages involved in their activities.
Again best as I think - involve them and work on this task together.

Emily Goligoski

February 27, 2012, 06:06AM
I like the idea of kids getting "I Voted" stickers in class and then accompanying their parents as they earn theirs--great way to show the empowering nature of civic action at an early age.

Jutta Jerlich

February 27, 2012, 10:13AM
Thanks Emily, I agree.
A way to make visible what is going on always helps to get more attention.

Whitney Quesenbery

February 27, 2012, 04:28AM
I like how this concept thinks about how we create engaged citizens from an early age. A few thoughts for how it could build:

What about combining civics education with education and awareness about disabilities?

How would a program like this evolve through the different grades?

There has been a program to get university students involved in elections as poll workers, but what about 16-17 year-old high school students. Could this be organized as part of their community service work (required by many schools these days)?

Julie Lythgoe

February 29, 2012, 20:23PM
Great thoughts Whitney! I am aware of some areas where HS students do volunteer as Poll Workers but I believe there are some age restrictions (17-18 /Seniors only). I agree with your comment to explore options for earlier years/ages in school.

Mamta Gautam

March 09, 2012, 08:33AM
Hey Julie, i just posted a concept that talks about the same ! have a look http://www.openideo.com/open/voting/concepting/vote-angel-design-for-mutual-dependence./ cheers..
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