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Ballot Wayfinder 2022

helping students navigate their ballot

Student voters are often surprised — and overwhelmed — by the length and complexity of their ballot. Located in the Duderstadt Center Gallery Voting Hub, our 35’ installation invited new voters to "walk through a ballot"  and gain key civic knowledge in tactile, engaging ways. By interjecting unexpected delight, we transformed a stressful undertaking into a playful entry point to civic participation.

“this was the first time I ever connected with any resource for voting, the first time I felt genuinely excited about [voting]"

Student Voter


We created an invitation with a giant ballot floor graphic, leading from the hallway into an area with four playground-like sculptures introducing key offices on the federal, state and local levels.


Colorful, rotating forms intuitively drew students in to explore the content. Our careful attention to typography (typeface, color, sense breaks) created a clear and reassuring tone of voice.


We introduced the top-level goal of the installation with a ‘Ballot Field Guide’ to help students connect the offices on the ballot to the issues they care about.


Each rotating cube explained an office on the ballot with concise, plain language descriptions and salient examples of the impact the office could have on specific issue areas.


We developed a tactile infographic to bring attention to judicial races—a consequential yet often overlooked part of the ballot.


We designed an area to explain the ballot proposal process in Michigan and point students to reliable, non-partisan information about supporters and opponents of each proposal.


Our research table—with tips on how to learn about candidates and links to trustworthy, non-partisan resources—normalized the idea that everyone needs to ‘study’ a bit before they feel ready to vote.  

The Creative Campus Voting Project is a non-partisan initiative based at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design, led by co-founders Associate Professors Stephanie Rowden and Hannah Smotrich. They work in close coordination with the Ann Arbor City Clerk and their UMICH Votes Coalition partners: Turn Up Turnout, U-M Democracy & Debate, Ginsberg Center, U-M Office of Government Relations, University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), and the Duderstadt Gallery.


The 2022 Ballot Wayfinder was generously supported by U-M Office of Research,  U-M Democracy and Debate Initiative, and U-M Stamps School of Art & Design.

Photos by Eric Bronson (Michigan Photography) and Mark Gjukich

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