Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation

Truly democratic design

Blanke Ark (Clean Slate/Tabula Rasa) is a universally designed service for political elections. This service was implemented in 173 municipalities in the 2011 election. Now, in the 2015 election, most of the 429 municipalities in Norway will use this system.

The Brief: In 2008, the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation and Norwegian Design and Architecture Center, challenged designers to create a new and accessible design for the Norwegian elections. Comte Bureau won the competition with our contribution: Blanke Ark.

Comte Bureau solution: Blanke Ark is a comprehensive and thoughtful solution since it takes into account that voters with various functional levels have a wish and the right to use their vote. The solution consists of a voting booth which is easy to get into and out of for everyone, including wheelchair users. The ballot papers are designed so that voters intuitively will fold it the correct manner to avoid the use of a cover envelope that is a big burden when counting and bad for the environment.

The signage is simple, with large white surfaces and illustrations to help voters, especially those that have trouble in understanding Norwegian. The orange color contrast is important in the concept. Orange tape on the floor helps to guide voters through the room, and is especially important for visually impaired voters. The color also helps emphasize the important points of interaction between the voters and the election equipment. The voting ballot box is designed so that the ballot is easy to deliver for everyone, including sitting or “hand shaking” voters.
Our solution has been further developed in close cooperation with the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation and representatives from local authorities, The Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, the Norwegian Association of Disabled and the Delta Centre, different municipalities, and voters with various disabilities as lead users. Our goal has been to ensure that all voters, regardless of ability, understand how to vote and will be able to cast their vote on their own. We have also addressed the practical and formal needs of municipalities in connection with conducting elections.

See a short video about Blanke Ark here (information video for municipalities. In Norwegian, but subtitled in English)
The project was carried out by Innovativoli Design before the fusion with Comte Bureau, in collaboration with Blueroom and Kadabra