This is What Democracy Looked Like: A Visual History of the Printed Ballot (Hardcover)

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This Is What Democracy Looked Like, the first illustrated history of printed ballot design, illuminates the noble but often flawed process at the heart of our democracy. An exploration and celebration of US ballots from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this visual history reveals unregulated, outlandish, and, at times, absurd designs that reflect the explosive growth and changing face of the voting public. The ballots offer insight into a pivotal time in American history—a period of tectonic shifts in the electoral system—fraught with electoral fraud, disenfranchisement, scams, and skullduggery, as parties printed their own tickets and voters risked their lives going to the polls.

About the Author

Alicia Yin Cheng is a founding partner of MGMT. design in Brooklyn, New York. She currently serves as an external critic for the MFA program at the Rhode Island School of Design and has taught at Yale University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Barnard College, and Cooper Union. Cheng was a past board member of the AIGA/NY chapter and the Fine Arts Federation.

Praise For…

"This Is What Democracy Looked Like is bookended by the same humble artifact: the 'butterfly ballot' that notoriously swung the 2000 election. As an introductory essay notes, 'the structure and design of the ballot can have enormous consequences for how politics function or fail us.' Showing hundreds of examples of voting ephemera, Cheng stresses their relations to historical power struggles. The ballot was-and is-also a site of conflict for disenfranchised groups, who fought for the monumental mundanity of suffrage. 'While the more contemporary versions may be less graphically outrageous,' Cheng writes, 'that is also the point.'
- Metropolis

Product Details
ISBN: 9781616898878
ISBN-10: 1616898879
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
Pages: 176