Next Stop: Democracy! voter engagement through public art
Can public art increase voter engagement? The project Next Stop Democracy! has gathered 60 local artists to find out.
The public art project aims to improve the voting experience in Philadelphia by commissioning participating artists to create large signs that say “Vote Here” in English and Spanish.
Organizers believe the art will make it easier for residents to find their polling place on election day. They also plan to hire local musicians and dancers that will be performing at selected polling places.
“Here in Philadelphia, during the recent mayoral primary only 27 percent of registered voters got out to the polls, which means that 27 percent of the electorate made a pretty huge decision for the rest of us,” stated the organization. “There are many reasons why folks don’t show up to vote on election day. The signage required by the city is nothing more than a few pieces of paper taped up on the wall outside the door.”
— Daily Pennsylvanian (@dailypenn) October 28, 2015
“There’s a lot of work going into getting people to the polling places,” Lansie Sylvia, director of engagement of the project told Next City. “Something we unveiled in our quantitative research was that people felt intimidated at the polls. People didn’t feel welcomed.”
The locations have been chosen to produce a valid statistical cross-section of the city’s 850 polling places. “Students at the University of Pennsylvania will collect and analyze data on turnout at the 60 polling places where signs will be placed on November 3rd,” Next City reported.
A photo posted by Next Stop: Democracy! (@nsdemocracy) on