Monday, April 5, 2010

An Ideal Polling Booth?

Have you ever thought about the design process behind a polling booth? If you haven’t, it’s completely understandable since most polling booths are not very sophisticated or aesthetically appealing. Then again, there’s only one requirement: to protect the privacy of the voter, and this can be done simply with curtains.

When I tried to find the history of the architectural design behind polling booths and how they’ve changed with the addition of new voting technology, I couldn’t find anything. Even with Google. I couldn’t even find anything about famous polling booths. The closest
site I could find to the history of polling booths discusses the mechanics behind how voting data has been collected (e.g. paper ballots, mechanical level machines, etc.)

The Internet cares more about the nearest polling booth than the actual design behind the booth. Then again, the designs aren’t usually memorable. Can you remember what the last booth you voted at looked like?

However, not all architects share this indifference to polling booth design. Joseph Choma, an MIT grad student, is schedule to present his design for the ideal polling booth on the second floor of the MIT Museum in the Emerging Technologies gallery from Saturday 4/24 to Sunday 5/2, and he will be available for discussion on Sunday 4/25.

Choma has posted an image of his first prototype polling booth design on his blog, architectuREdefined. His prototype clearly illustrates that polling booths do not need to be boring, challenging the banal nature of current options. His design is well thought out. As Eric Howeler noted, Choma’s design “acknowledges that the act of voting is a fiercely individual act, and the defensive structure serves to define a personal space/zone around the voter.”

This is one exhibit you just can't miss.

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