I DON'T VOTE

THIS IS A PLACE TO NOT VOTE

Most young Americans do not vote. This Non-Voting Booth set out to explore why through a campaign and a non-voting booth. Made in collaboration with SVA Products of Design Class of 2015, Manuel Toscano and Natalie Balthrop of Zago LLC.

– Research & Strategy, Experience Design, Event Production –


Research shows that young people tend not to vote in the U.S. midterm elections, but also shows that young people who start to vote early in their voting lives are more likely to become habituated to the behavior as they mature. We set out to explore the reasons why. After interviewing students on four campuses in New York City, we worked together to synthesize the findings and create a concept that would encourage young people to start voting.

Research shows that young people tend not to vote in the U.S. midterm elections, but also shows that young people who start to vote early in their voting lives are more likely to become habituated to the behavior as they mature. 

The campaign and design intervention called "I Don't Vote," addresses apathy and frames the discussion around both the predicted and unseen reasons for opting out. The campaign was grounded in an I Don't Vote Manifesto, an website and mobile webapp, an in-person booth, sticker and button campaign.

The intervention took place on election day, November 4th, 2014, in Washington Square Park in downtown Manhattan. We built and installed a “non-voting booth,” where visitors told their stories of non-voting, declared their thoughts with pre-printed rationale stickers, and engaged in conversations around the act of voting and political participation.

The booth contains a “ballot box” equipped with a recording device, and upon entering, young people have the opportunity to “tell” the ballot box in their own words why they don’t vote. After sharing their thoughts privately, visitors were then offered a selection of stickers from the five available options (or filled in their own with a marker), placing it on the booth in a kind of “live non-voting.” Over the course of the event, every visitor got to have an impact on the finished complexion of the non-voting booth.