Thursday, October 21, 2010

Incorrect Ballot Instructions: a Statewide Problem?

We are concerned that the ballot instruction error for New York City we blogged about yesterday, which was covered by WNYC this morning, may very well be a statewide problem for all jurisdictions who have designed their ballot with ovals appearing below a candidate’s name.

The provision of New York State Election Law § 7-106 which mandates how the instructions are to be printed on the ballot, reads:

"(2) To vote for a candidate whose name is printed on this ballot fill in the (insert oval or square, as applicable) above or next to the name of the candidate."

Furthermore, we have been told that the flawed instruction language included in this document will be posted in privacy booths statewide, telling voters to fill in the oval “above or next to” candidate’s name.

We have yet to receive a response from the letter we sent yesterday. We have been told that these instructions will be posted in every privacy booth across New York City. While these written instructions tell voters to darken the oval next to their choice, a visual image of an arrow shows voters that to correctly mark their ballot they must fill in the oval below the candidate’s name. That's definitely an improvement over the completely inaccurate ballot instructions we detailed yesterday.

We will update our readers with any further developments.

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