The Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t
On November 3, 2020, Southern Exposure will be an official polling place for the Consolidated General Election, and for three weeks beforehand, it will also be a site for those who normally are not allowed the opportunity to vote to do so. According to the U.S. Election Project, in 2016 28.6% of Americans, or more than 92 million people, were disenfranchised and ineligible to vote in the presidential elections. The disenfranchised groups include youth under 18, non-citizens, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people (depending on state laws), residents of U.S. territories, and those without government-issued IDs (depending on state laws). This monumental number does not even factor in voter suppression.
Aram Han Sifuentes’ project, The Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t, allows the disenfranchised to become more visible by casting their symbolic votes. By imagining voting opportunities for those whose voices are not often heard, Han Sifuentes both points to the inherent inequities in our voting system and creates a space for all of us to come together to protest and celebrate each of our individual perspectives.
The project, which was born out of her own inability to vote in the 2016 election, will be presented at multiple venues throughout the country leading up to the US election, allowing her to collect data from multiple locations and create a wide vision of what the US actually looks like. Southern Exposure will distribute ballot kits to neighbors, community members, and SoEx audiences and will collect and share the data. Vote at officialunofficial.vote or by filling out the form here to receive a ballot kit in the mail and to have your voice be heard. Ballots dropped off at SoEx or returned via mail.
As this information is collected, it will be on display through SoEx’s front windows along with an installation by Related Tactics that layers historical protest materials and declares, “Never Again is Now.” Voter responses will be viewable from the sidewalk through the windows of SoEx, scrolling on a monitor, and online at officialunofficial.vote.