A sample ballot shown with a dime for scale.
The New York Times
Link to Article:
NY City Voters Annoyed by Hard to Read Ballots
Part of the growing pains of a shift from voting machines to paper ballots in New York has taken the form of poorly planned, ugly and hard to read ballots. Now graphic designers and legislators are seeking relief with initiatives to improve the ridiculous and unwieldy appearance of election ballots.
Excerpt: "Voters who trekked to the polls for Thursday’s primary races were handed ballots with candidates’ names printed in an eye-straining 7-point type, akin to the ingredient list on the side of a cereal box.
Now the city Board of Elections is facing outsize criticism over the mite-size font. Civic groups and lawmakers are calling for reform. And some voters are wondering why the instructions on the ballot were displayed in larger and clearer typefaces than the names of the candidates and the offices they were running for...
'Wow, that’s tiny!' said James Montalbano, the founder of Terminal Design in Brooklyn, upon seeing a sample ballot. 'Those names could be 40 percent larger and still fit.'
Mr. Montalbano knows legibility. He is a co-designer of Clearview, a font now recommended by the federal government for use on highway and street signs around the country.
'These names should be much bigger,' said Mr. Montalbano, who seemed somewhat aghast, a cake master considering a Pop-Tart. 'The position they are running for is bigger than their names. Whoever designed this, it just seems like it’s a mess.'
'This was not designed by a typographer, believe me,' he added.
Indeed not. New York City’s ballot aesthetic is determined by a team at the city Board of Elections, which is bound, according to a spokeswoman, by laws and regulations set by the state.
None of those rules mandate a specific font size to be used for candidates’ names. But the law does insist on uniformity, which the city identified as the culprit for all the squinting."