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June 17, 2013

First Steps

by keelapotter

Greetings from Providence, Rhode Island! It has taken Kelsey and I a good 6 months or so to figure out how to pronounce the name of the fellowship (Ma-HA-ram, MA-ha-ram, Ma-ha-RAM…) we have used every variation possible. Reminds me of when the first Harry Potter books came out and nobody really knew how to pronounce Hermione’s name. But alas, here we are interning with the RI Board of Elections and Secretary of State’s Elections Division to research the current systems these office use and to offer insight about how these systems could be improved using design thinking and processes. We Skyped with Whitney Quesenbery last week and discussed her work as a user experience researcher and tester involved in helping improve election materials in several states. Her knowledge about the field and how to conduct research amazed us and we are excited to have such a great support system as we move forward. Here is a photo from our Skype date!

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Last week I visited a special election that was happening in Conventry, RI. It was a local school board election, but I got to tag along to see how the polling places were set up and run. At the senior center polling location I visited, there were no signs in the building to direct voters to the room with the voting booths. Actually I lied, there was one…

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The challenges the Board of Elections faces regarding wayfinding systems and poll worker training are ones that we are very excited to delve deeper into during this summer. So stay tuned!

Keela

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