Client: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Joint Electoral Management Body Secretariat (JEMBS), UNDP, UNOPS 


Project: Afghanistan Presidential,

Provincial and National Elections (Wolesi Jirga)  

2004-2005 Ballots and Candidate symbols

Languages: Dari and Pashto


In the Provincial and Wolesi Jirga elections (lower house of the National Assembly) each candidate was allotted a symbol through a lottery process. These symbols were designed to help voters – many whom are illiterate – to identify their candidates quickly and unmistakably. There were 5,800 candidates including 582 women. With a one-week deadline working around the clock our team researched, designed and illustrated over 800 symbols. 


Sixty-nine ballots with 5,800 candidates were required for Election Day. In order to accommodate the lengthy list of candidates the ballot layout was produced tabloid size in a newspaper format. The timelines for production were extremely tight with strict quality control and secrecy. We oversaw the printing of 40 million ballots.


Mock ballots were produced for training sessions, educating Afghans on how to correctly mark their ballots. In addition, one million newspaper inserts were produced with black and white sample ballots. 


The Presidential Election held in October 2004 was the first democratic election in Afghanistan. One of our many tasks was to design a secure ballot that was comprehensible to a literate and illiterate population. The 18 candidates on the ballot were represented by a photo and chosen symbol. The ballot design included several security features.


Published in: The New International IDEA Handbook 2005 (Afghanistan Presidential Ballot) 


Provincial and Wolesi Jirga Election team:
Karen Kelleher Carneiro, Sandi Causevic, Míša Alexander

Presidential Election team: Karen Kelleher Carneiro, Brad Becker

Photographs: Marie Frechon

Client: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Secretariado Técnico da Administração Eleitoral (STAE)


Project: Timor-Leste 2007 Presidential, Presidential run-off and Parliamentary Elections Ballots

Languages: Tetum and Portuguese


In coordination with the STAE I designed and produced ballots for the 2007 Presidential, run-off and Parliamentary Elections. Candidate symbols and photographs were incorporated into the designs security features and watermarks were used to prevent fraud. 


I supervised the printing, finishing, packing and delivery from Surabaya Indonesia to East Timor of 650,000 ballots. Coordinating with the Indonesian Ambassador and local police to ensure secure print sites and police escorted deliveries. This took place within a tight 10-day schedule, running 24-hour shifts. Overcoming many obstacles, the ballots were delivered on time for distribution prior to elections.


Mock ballots were created for voter education training sessions. Ensuring voters understood how to mark their ballot properly and reducing the number of invalid votes.


Photographs: Karen Kelleher Carneiro

“The Ballots were very professionally designed.  During the printing of the Parliamentary ballots Karen was a member of the delegation sent to oversee the operation… she stepped forward and took the lead to assure that it would be successful.”


– William Clive, Electoral Chief Technical Advisor, Consultant

   United Nations Development Programme

“As a member of the Public Outreach Department, I found Karen to be a conscientious, creative and talented person whose performance is of a very high standard. Her program was thoroughly prepared and professional executed.”


- Samantha Aucock, Head of the Public Outreach Department

  UNOPS, JEMB, Kabul, Afghanistan

© 2018 KelleherDesign

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