The ballot web

The Nordic Culture Point is proud to present the exhibition “THE BALLOT – PIECE OF PAPER OR TOOL OF POWER?” at their premises in Kaisaniemi from March 16 to April 5. You can visit the exhibition during the library’s opening hours, Tue, Wed, Thu, 12-19, Fri 12-16.

The opening takes place on March 15 at 17:00 – read more about the opening here.

Coinciding with parliamentary elections in Finland the exhibition looks into the source code of our democracies: The ballot paper and the underlying electoral laws that this modest piece of paper brings into a tangible form. The exhibition tracks the evolution of the ballot paper in Finland, the other Nordic countries, Germany, and Lithuania by presenting 60 historic artefacts from 1856 to 2021.

The evolution of the Finnish ballot started with one of the most progressive electoral laws in 1906, featuring oversized, so-called bed sheet ballots. Starting in 1945 Finland switched to one of the smallest ballots in the world, nicknamed appropriately the miniature ballot, which is still in use today. Even though this ballot paper has passed through the hands of most Finns, it is hitherto unknown who actually designed this innovative ballot. The exhibition can provide a likely answer to this question.

“THE BALLOT” is an exhibition where the visitor can learn about the development of democracy seen through this small but highly significant artefact. Why do the ballot papers look the way they do? Who actually designed them? How come the ballots are so different between countries with similar political systems? How do ballots reflect political trends and events over time? Is the current ballot design the best we can do or is there space for improvement?

After touring Berlin, Riga and Stockholm the acclaimed exhibition will be now presented in Helsinki. The exhibition will be hosted by the Nordic Culture Point and is a collaboration between five organisations: Fabel is a Swedish agency that operates in the intersection of participatory culture, cultural heritage, communication and game design. Fabel came up with the original idea. Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen of Studio Kalleinen is an artist living in Helsinki, known for participatory art projects such as Complaints Choir and Speech Karaoke. He is responsible for the Helsinki exhibition. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. The International Elections Study Centre  (IESC) promotes best practices in election design and administration. Folkevirke is a Danish umbrella for non-formal education organisations.

Welcome to an exhibition about a very significant small piece of paper!

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