Can the perfect ballot be designed? We think so. Starting here.


Good design in elections means that voters can reliably and accurately express their intent. But voting goes beyond the ballot. Voters want to know what’s on the ballot ahead of time, and what to expect at the polling place, too.

With the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and 320 generous Kickstarter backers, the Field Guides team has done some amazing research during 2012 and 2013. We looked at voter education materials, county election websites, and posters and signage in the polling place. We hope that Vol. 05-08 are as useful to you as Vol. 01-04 were about ballot design, plain language, usability testing, and procedures for poll workers.

Download PDFs of the Field Guides for FREE. 

Vol. 01. Designing usable ballots (PDF) (original research)

Vol. 02. Writing instructions voters understand (PDF) (original NIST report)

Vol. 03. Testing ballots for usability (PDF) (link to LEO kit at UPA)

Vol. 04. Effective poll worker materials (PDF) (original NIST report)

Vol. 05. Choosing how to communicate with voters (PDF)

Vol. 06. Designing voter education booklets and flyers (PDF)

Vol. 07. Designing election department websites (PDF)

Vol. 08. Guiding voters through the polling place (PDF)


Want the real thing? Order printed copies from our Store


Raves about the Field Guides

First of all, let me say, I am so profoundly impressed with the work you are and your team are trying to achieve… The first set of guides are dynamite and I am madly sharing them with the League Voter Service community. 

I have been working on the state of California Board for the LWV for the last 3 years on community education … primarily through our LWVC Education Website… [The] same rules apply, and I think your guides are going to be put to great service by groups doing voter education. 


Suzanne Stassevitch
Community Education
The League of Women Voters California


Short, simple, readable, usable.  Let’s hope they make a difference!

Janice (Ginny) Redish, Ph.D.
Redish & Associates, Inc.


So awesome, so well designed, such superb content!

Joseph Lorenzo Hall
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Media, Culture and Communication
New York University


Interested in what’s to come?  Send us a note and we’ll let you know when new Field Guides are available. Or, follow @ChadButterfly on Twitter.


Chad Butterfly - drawing of a little monster by Adam Connor

Chad Butterfly says, “Thank You!”


Initial funding for this project came from 300+ extremely generous people who backed the project through Kickstarter.

The Field Guides are also made possible through the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.