Those tricky hanging chads might be a thing of the past, but it turns out those schmancy paper ballots might not be so great either—voters in last week's primary election have complained that the print on the ballots was just too teeny. "I just stood and squinted," Manhattan senior Elinore Kaplan told the Times. "It shouldn't be a challenge. It should be an invitation."
Kaplan wasn't the only one who struggled to read her ballot, which listed candidates' names in super-small 7.5 type. City Council members were flooded with complaints from aging and otherwise visually-impaired constituents in Brooklyn and Manhattan who had trouble with the font size, while Bronx voters were gifted with candidates' names in 11-point type, and candidates on Queens and Richmond county ballots received a luxurious 12-point type.
And why were Manhattan and Brooklyn residents denied such see-able print? Because one Assembly District in each county (75th in Manhattan, 58th in Kings County) had more delegates than the others, selfishly ruining the ballot for the rest of us! Or, at least, for the few thousand folks who made it to the voting booth in the first place. "Whoever designed this, it just seems like it's a mess," typographer James Montalbano told the Times.
According to state election laws, "a uniform style and size of type" must be used to print candidates' names on each county's ballots, but blurry-eyed New Yorkers are looking to make a change. Susan Lerner, the executive director of activist group Common Change New York, says the organization wants to prevent voters from getting stressed out by too-small type. "Clearly, New York needs to do a better job in ballot design," Lerner wrote on Common Cause's blog last week. "We're working with coalition partners and the NYC Board of Elections to be sure that voters won't be faced with ballots they can't read in the future." Meanwhile, if you're worried about accidentally casting a vote for the Prohibition Party come November, it might be a good idea to bring a magnifying glass with you to your poll site.