Project history

The Election Toolkit is a place where any election official can find communication tools that are recommended and tested by other election officials. With Center for Technology and Civic Life, funded by the Knight Foundation. (2015-2016)

Informed voting from start to finish
Work to match young voters with voter guides for national and local elections, and testing to learn how to do it effectively. A deep dive study of how voters get information and make decisions conducted during the 2016 General Election. With Democracy Works/TurboVote and e.thePeople, funded by the Knight Foundation. (2015-2016)

Election Design Course
A graduate course in the Certificate in Election Administration at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. (2016-ongoing)

Best Practices for Ranked Choice Voting
Design research on how to present alternative ballots including ranked choice so voters know how to mark their ballots and understand the results. Funded by FairVote (2016)

Participatory Budgeting Project
Usability testing paper and digital ballots for Participatory Budgeting New York City at polling places across the city. Funded by PBP (2016)

The Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII)
Usability work on projects for GPII – an initiative to support people with disabilities and others in setting preferences for computer systems display and interaction. Funded by IKSME/U.S. Department of Education (2016) and University of Maryland/U.S. DOE, OSERS and RSA (2016-2020)

Remote ballot marking systems 
Can we make can we make remote ballot marking systems both accessible and secure, so voters can use and trust them to vote by mail? In collaboration with Verified Voting Foundation and National Foundation for the Blind. Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST (2015-2016)

Usability of electronic poll books
What makes an e-pollbook most usable for poll workers, election staff, and voters. A landscape analysis of electronic poll books, work to develop a usability test, and a checklist of usability considerations for election officials. Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST (2015)

How voters get information (voter guides in California)
Research for the Future of California Elections to improve voter education materials with effective, engaging voter guides created a best-practices manual and prototype published by the League of Women Voters. Pilots in Shasta, Santa Cruz, an Orange Counties  and training for other counties in California to create updated voter guides for the 2016 elections.Funded by the Irvine Foundation and the Future of California Elections (2013-2016)

A roadmap for usability and accessibility of next generation elections
A collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)  to identify issues, gaps, new technology, and processes, how to develop guidance, as well as relevant research and best practices that can be used to improve voting systems given next generation technology. Continued work on the roadmap included researching ways to organize, present, and communicate requirements effectively and defining requirements for secure, usable and accessible online ballot marking systems. Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST (2014-2016)

Poll workers and election security
An exploratory investigation of the kinds of problems that poll workers encounter and how they solve (or work around) those problems. Funded by the National Science Foundation with the University of Minnesota (2012-2014)

Communicating with voters: election department websites and voter education 
A look at how voters find information and how election departments communicate with them. This research was incorporated into Field Guides. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation (2012-2013)

The Anywhere Ballot
What if, rather than having separate voting systems for people who did and didn’t have disabilities, voters could vote on a device they already had and knew and had customized and personalized. Funded by the ITIF Accessible Voting Technology Initiative, and the MacArthur Foundation (2012-ongoing)

Work with election departments

  • California Secretary of State
  • Santa Cruz, Shasta, and Orange Counties, California
  • Los Angeles Voting Systems Assessment Project
  • Colorado State Elections Department
  • Connecticut Secretary of State
  • Elections Canada
  • Oregon Elections
  • Pennsylvania Department of State
  • Rhode Island Department of State
  • Virginia Department of Elections
  • Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

And smaller consultations with other jurisdictions.

Presentations for election officials

  • NIST
  • Election Assistance Commission
  • Election Verification Network
  • State conferences in California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Utah, Virginia,

Presentations for other groups

  • Breaking Barriers: Ballot Access and Plain Language – National Disability Rights Network, 2016
  • Code for Princeton
  • World Usability Day
  • Code for America
  • Service Design in Government


See our…

Presentations on Slideshare

Press and media coverage

Publications and reports