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KHS student designs backdrop for voters

From left, graphic communications instructor Rebecca Frates, Kingsford High School senior Katie Bubloni and Breitung Township Clerk Samantha Neuens show Bubloni’s design that was chosen to appear as a banner for selfie stations in Breitung Township during the March 10 presidential primary. (Brian Christensen/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — A banner designed by a Kingsford High School senior will be the backdrop for voter “selfie stations” to be set outside Breitung Township polling sites during the March 10 presidential primary.

Katie Bubloni’s artwork was chosen by Breitung Township Clerk Samantha Neuens and Deputy Clerk Karie Taff from 16 other designs for its clear presentation.

“I wanted to focus on the words ‘I voted’ and make that stand out more with the American flag in the text, giving it a simple but all-around ‘American pride’ feel.” Bubloni said.

“It contained just the right amount of information without appearing cluttered,” Neuens said, adding Bubloni’s patriotic color palette and use of hashtags also factored in their decision.

“I feel honored and lucky to be chosen,” Bubloni said. “It shows that I’m going into the right field for me.”

The stations will allow voters more leeway in self-expression after a federal lawsuit challenging Michigan’s restrictions on ballot photography was settled in May 2019.

Under the settlement, voters can photograph their ballots while in the voting booth, though it remains illegal to photograph oneself with a ballot, whether inside a booth or anywhere others are voting.

As a compromise, selfie stations set outside polling locations are acceptable.

“Selfie stations are catching on,” Neuens said. “They are a wonderful way to show pride in your civic right to vote.”

Neuens had asked Rebecca Frates, graphic communications instructor at the Dickinson-Iron Technical Education Center, whether any students might be interested in submitting designs for the stations.

The winning selfie banner, Neuens explained, would be used at three Breitung Township locations — the Department of Public Works building in Quinnesec, which houses the first and third precincts; the second precinct at the North Breitung Fire Hall on M-95; and the Breitung Township Hall in Quinnesec.

The winning designer also received a $50 gift card from Neu-Cup Coffee in Iron Mountain.

“I was very impressed with Katie’s dedication to this project. She really gave it her best effort,” Frates said, adding Bubloni included her own photograph of an American flag in the image and challenged herself to use design software in ways she had not before.

“(The competition) was a great opportunity for the students to get some real-world experience and also to learn a bit more about government and voting,” Frates said.

Brian Christensen can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 229, or bchristensen@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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