Community Voting


Provide residents with a way to vote besides the second Tuesday of each November. Successful Community Voting ranges from Participatory Budgeting to Focus Alignment to basic feedback.

community voting


The outcomes can range from qualitative to the quantitative, and can have direct real-world implications.

  1. Increased resident engagement
  2. Increased resident empowerment
  3. Deeper connections between residents and their government


  1. Agree upon a topic area or domain, such as Policing or Traffic.
  2. Brainstorm 20+ methods which feel important to your team which could affect this topic.
  3. Review this list to make sure that they are all at the same level. For example, “Ban all cars” and “Install red light cameras” would be two ways to deal with traffic, but might not be at the same level.
  4. Downselect to 6-10 methods.
  5. Get feedback from your team.
  6. Print out the methods and affix to the voting jars.
Voting dics


  1. Set up a table in a high–traffic area.
  2. Set up the sign.
  3. Arrange the voting jars in a half circle
  4. Set up the voting discs.
  5. Have one or two volunteers facilitate the activation asking for feedback, and telling residents what will be done with the responses, and why it’s important. Offer a voting disc.
  6. At the end of the activation, take a photo of the Voting Jars.
  7. Count the votes and tally them.
voting in action

After the event

  1. Visualize the results using your favorite methodology.
  2. For inspiration take a look at Tufte’s work.
  3. Publicize it!
Staffing needs
  • 1 person
Setup needs
  • Table
  • 6-10 voting jars or boards
  • Print out sign for each item
  • Voting discs or stickers
Suggested duration
  • 2–4 hours
Core behaviors segments
  • Sleeping
  • Scrambling
Useful to:

Provides pseudo-quantitative values to work in order to check work.


Validate course of action and gather evidence.

Journey moments:
How are the Players made Aware?
What information and conversations are used to Consider action?

File Downloads


Voting Jars Half Sheet

Use the below documents to create your own voting jars title. Note: Most documents have two versions, one using the Verlag font, and the other using the free Google OpenSans font. Download the correct font or customise it to your locla needs.

5 – Voting Detail-small



Every year the New York City Council appropriates budget for each district to apportion how they see fit through Participatory Budgeting. Organizations within each district petition the city councilor on projects with specific budgets, which are vetted, and then aggregated for those in the district to vote. Over the course of several weeks residents are prompted to vote online, or in person (often at Farmers Markets) with the top “X” amount of projects approved.

Voting dics

In collaboration with the Los Angeles Innovation Team, we set up a booth at a local community college to gather feedback from residents for the current Mayors office. One of the ways to interact was a Focus Booth which contained a range of amenities and items within the community, with the opportunity for residents to drop a chip into. By forcing people to choose only one area, they were able to make the tough choice.

The outcome allowed the Mayors Office to qualitatively understand where residents at this community college wanted the Mayor to focus.

Tactical Democracy is a toolkit to help you make meaningful person–to–person engagement in order to empower successful communities.

Learn about the Mindsets you need, how the Players behave and act; what Situations might be best to
deploy Tactics for engagement, to move the Players through their Journey, creating deeper empowerment.

Whoa, there's a lot of terms – check out the Glossary of Terms, and if you want to see everything, goto the sitemap.

Read some blog posts: