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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 03, 2016 Otis College of Art and Design students partnered with voter education platform SeePolitical to empower voters by providing key ballot and process information via fun, animated videos. The nonpartisan digital shorts are produced in collaboration with Otis Digital Media students and the Los Angeles-based creative agency Imaginary Forces.
The project began in a Liberal Arts and Sciences capstone course taught by faculty David Bremer. Students were asked to tackle a significant topic within the humanities using research, communication skills, and professional development.
Bremer, who has a rich background in social justice and higher education, shared how this unfolds in the classroom, “As Otis students bring their considerable information design skills to bear on teaching the electoral process, they both re-learn and promote the underpinnings of social responsibility and civil society… topics of considerable and timely national significance.”
SeePolitical is a nonprofit organization seeking to help voters quickly and easily understand complex ballot issues. Founder Nate Kaplan realized there was a need for more voter-friendly explanations of ballot issues when even the legislators he worked for did not understand what they were being asked to vote on. Kaplan created SeePolitical as a solution to educate the electorate.
"I was fascinated to witness each students' transformation from the beginning of the semester to the end. Otis students are incredibly talented and engaged,” said Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director of SeePolitical. “They have a keen instinct knowing what works in media, so much so that they were able to make a very difficult political process easy to understand."
With the first round of Primaries and Caucuses starting on February 1, the video “How We Choose Our President: Primaries and Caucuses (Part 1)” has already been released and featured on several media outlets. The next video, ‘What is the Electoral College?’ will follow shortly, along with Spanish versions of each.
SeePolitical also plans to release a comic book, drafted by Otis students, explaining how Primary Elections, Caucuses, and the Electoral College function, which will be downloadable from the SeePolitical website.
In 2014, Otis students worked with SeePolitical to create videos for four of the six November ballot initiatives (1, 45, 46, and 47) in California, and Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin honored their hard work in improving democracy by awarding them a commendation.