The Challenge

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

Contribution

Where You Vote Changes How You Vote

A Stanford study found that where you vote can influence how you vote. For instance, voting at a school increased support for school funding measures and voting at a church decreased votes for stem cell research.
This Stanford Study on how polling location affected support for a school funding initiative and stem cell research raised some interesting questions for me.

  • How can we use location to inspire and encourage people to vote?
  • How do current polling locations discourage voting and, as a result, further limit accessibility?
  • How do you create a voting environment that is free of bias, neutral and comfortable for voters of all socio-economic backgrounds and diverse beliefs?
Mission #3 Understand the Democratic Process

Comments

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An Old Friend

February 03, 2012, 01:07AM
Very clean, simple, and powerful insight Daren. As someone who studied architecture its easy to see how the space could effect the mood of the person and thus their decisions.

If you want another interesting study on voting behavior, check out this study done by James Fowler. Its a bit of game theory, but it gives good insight into some other influences (other than space) in voting.

http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu/habitual_voting_and_behavioral_turnout.pdf

Daren Kwok

February 06, 2012, 07:10AM
Thanks for posting your study Campbell. The behavior of habitual voters and casual voters intrigues me. Maybe we could find a way to get the habitual voters to encourage the casual ones.

Paul Reader

February 06, 2012, 10:35AM
Very interesting questions you have raised Daren.
Far more interesting than the outcome of the Stanford Study.
I would be interested to know how important to people are such things as proximity, ease of parking, and size of voting space.
Judging by the study Americans are asked to vote on far more issues than Australians. Most of these issues are the subject of parliamentary debate and decision. At election time some of these issues will surface and gain sufficient public debate for candidates to declare their position and gain or lose support accordingly.

Paul Reader

February 06, 2012, 11:04AM
It would actually be interesting to know more of how th research was constructed - one inference from the description given is that voters make decisions at the time of voting. Whether this implies a lower level of political engagement in the US than in other places I dont know.

T. Annie Nguyen

January 29, 2012, 05:43AM
Great questions to keep in mind! Something that I didn't think to consider when voting was the context's influences, but it makes sense.

Vincent Cheng

January 29, 2012, 02:10AM
Great points about the influence of location Daren!

Daren Kwok

January 29, 2012, 02:19AM
Thanks; this is my first post! I'm really energized by all of the great ideas and passion in this community. I've seen a lot of incredible posts from you, including the one featured today.

Meena Kadri

January 30, 2012, 02:55AM
Welcome to our collaborative community of 20k+ Daren! Hope to be seeing more of you on this challenge and beyond – fab start. (and well spotted – Vincent is an uber-collaborator indeed ;^)

Anne-Laure Fayard

January 30, 2012, 03:31AM
Fascinating piece of research! thanks for sharing!
I think you did a great in pointing in important directions to consider:
How the location of the polling station might influence the content of the vote? (the school funding and the stem research funding) This is key in terms of thinking of how one can influence the result of the vote.
 How the location of the polling station might inspire people to vote (or not)? It reminded me the inspiration about voting while commuting: http://www.openideo.com/open/voting/inspiration/voting-in-public-transport/
While reading that post I wonder if everyone could have the right focus to think about their vote. That will be an interesting follow up study! :-)
Last, about discouraging voting, I guess the environment is partly the location (how easy it is to access? how does it "feel"?) but also other aspects of the environment such as the length of the line that was mentioned in several voting stories.
Thanks!
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