William Drenttel | Essays

Polling Place Photo Project 2008

The New York Times, politics page, January 2008

A little more than a week before the November 2006 U.S. midterm elections, Design Observer and AIGA launched an online initiative in citizen journalism — voters across the country were asked to submit photographs of the election process at the polls. We are pleased to announce that the Polling Place Photo Project is continuing into the 2008 presidential primaries and general election, supported by a new partnership with The New York Times.

The site is live at pollingplaces.nytimes.com. Mark your calendars, get out your cameras, and post your photographs on November 4!

2006 Midterm Elections: "Valley Vista School," Petaluma, California. Photographer: Suzuki Cady

"This is a great opportunity for Times readers to work directly with us in capturing the presidential voting experience," said Jim Roberts, editor of digital news at The New York Times. "We've encouraged voters in New Hampshire to help document their historic primary. But in the weeks and months ahead, we hope to hear from readers from Florida to Michigan to California and points in between."

Here at Design Observer, we've been surprised by some of the photographs. In this post, we explored the circumstances of voting in religious environments. Or there is the wonderful fact of people voting in garages, especially in San Francisco. The Project was also featured in the current issue of Aperture magazine. We expect more visual revelations as the project progresses.

2008 Primary Elections: "Waiting for Change," Iowa City, Iowa. Photographer: Anonymous

We're proud of our new association with The New York Times and want to thank the many editors, designers and managers there who have worked on this project. We'd again like to acknowledge the support of AIGA, the professional association for design, which has backed this project since 2006. And we'd especially like to thank Thirdwave, the Chicago-based technology firm responsible for supporting the development of the Polling Place Photo Project, as well as countless other AIGA online initiatives. Betsy Vardell of Ruby Studio provided additional support.

Lastly, a reminder: Polling Place Photo Project is linked to AIGA's Design for Democracy initiative, which has recently published, in partnership with University of Chicago Press, Design for Democracy: Ballot and Election Design, a book by Marcia Lausen.

We look forward to seeing your photographs of voting in America.

Posted in: Media, Photography, Politics

Comments [4]

My friend from NYTimes sent me the link...

I've got some polling place photos from '06/the windows were
censored! had to cover up the art in the window....

anyplace i can post those?
Tequila Minsky

What a fantastic project. Congratulations on the partnership w/ the NYT.

Martin Luther King, Jr. would be proud of the Design Observer and The New York Times for championing this important cause. The Polling Place Photo Project 2008 is an experiment in citizen journalism that is doing a valuable thing!

  1. It is a nonpartisan initiative that supports Democracy in America.

  2. It also has the potential to discover and prevent recurring patterns of voter disenfranchisement.

  3. It is a promissory note to the people of this country that we will have fair elections.

Perhaps the Design Observer and The New York Times should also partner with google and map the polling places and then offer scholarships to the college students that participate in the Polling Place Photo Project 2008.
Carl W. Smith

Great concept. Does anyone know who the contact is at AIGA who champions interactive ideas/partnerships?


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