I’ve voted for many years now, and the plethora of interesting buildings where I’ve cast my votes run from the 1960’s elementary school to the City Hall of a small town to an old age home and now to my current polling place, the gym of a community housing apartment building for the disabled. So many different places are used to cast votes in the US, and now there is a photo project that wants you to document where you vote.

Your participation is easy. Bring a digital camera with you when you go to vote tomorrow and photograph the outside of your polling place. If you can, include the sign, but if you can’t, or don’t want to, thats fine too.

Remember, photography of polling places is governed by state and local law—there is no one answer for what is permissible. Every state has different election laws, some which allow photos of polling stations and others that do not. It is important to check your states’ procedures to find out what is and isn’t acceptable. Most states have laws prohibiting loitering or congregation around the polling place, as well as laws prohibiting any type of intimidation or interruption of voters.

The Polling Project is part of the Design for Democracy Project, and was conceived to increases civic participation by making the experience clearer, more understandable, easier to accomplish and more trustworthy. What could be more helpful than photos of voting place to put people at ease? I think this project is a great idea and I can’t wait to see the posted results.

The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that seeks to empower citizens to capture, post and share photographs of democracy in action. By documenting their local voting experience on November 7, voters can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America.

With citizens’ images and the information that accompanies them, the Project becomes a research tool on how voting happens in America and how it can be designed to be easier, less confusing and more enjoyable. The project intends to collect photographs of every polling place in America, so you are encouraged to participate no matter where you vote, how large or small your polling place is, what kind of ballot you use, or what your party affiliation.

Get your cameras ready. Election Day is November 7, 2006. We need your photographs!

In the spirit of public access and broad dissemination, this is an open-source project. Photography of polling places is governed by state and local law—there is no one answer for what is permissible. The Polling Place Photo Project and AIGA encourage all participants in this project to follow all applicable local, state and federal laws. Read more in the Fine Print.

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