Guidelines for Writing Clear Instructions and Messages for Voters and Poll Workers

Published: June 05, 2009


Janice (Ginny) Redish, Sharon J. Laskowski


Voters are exercising an important right as American citizens. If they cannot understand how to use their voting materials, they may not be successful in voting for the candidates and positions of their choice. Clear instructions are a necessary part of the voting process whether voters use paper ballots, mechanical devices (lever or punch card), electronic devices, or any other medium. This document includes 20 guidelines for clear ballot instructions for both paper and electronic ballots. It also gives seven guidelines for writing clear system messages on electronic voting machines. Each guideline includes a statement of what to do, reasons for doing it, and an example
Citation: NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7596
Report Number:
Pub Type: NIST Pubs

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Ballot Usability, Ballot Instructions, Best Practice in Language, Plain Language
Created June 05, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017