A new project of the Data and Democracy Initiative will increase voter education, confidence and persistence for individuals with cognitive impairments.
Traditional text-based voter guides are lengthy and perplexing for most voters, and can become entirely overwhelming for those with cognitive impairments, including dementia, stroke, traumatic brain injury, learning disabilities, and normal aging–conditions that are increasing exponentially. Vote Your Mind is an enhanced, interactive supplement to the official Voter Information Guide, designed for tablet computers. Critically, Vote Your Mind takes into account cognitive limitations including attention and memory, and possible visual and/or hearing loss, in order to make the voter education process more accessible and effective. The application has a user-friendly and engaging interface with videos, hypertext links, and other enhancements. A usability study will evaluate the efficacy of the pilot application with a cohort of 6-10 adult participants with traumatic brain injury using quantitative and qualitative measures. Participants will be assigned to both a traditional voter guide and Vote Your Mind, in a quasi-random order. Both voter guides will ask participants to vote on two items, including one race with two candidates and one proposition, and will produce sample ballots. If successful, the pilot study could suggest a broader-scale application to enhance voter guides for real upcoming elections. Such an app could increase voter participation among not only members of the target group (those with cognitive disabilities) but could also increase participation, confidence, and accuracy among the general voter population as well.
Vote Your Mind is funded by a grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission through the Information Technology Innovation Foundation.
View the White Paper: AVTI-019-CITRIS-VoteYourMind-20131