senate Bill S609

Amended

Requires the use of a simple and easy to read typeface on paper ballots

download pdf

Sponsor

Co-Sponsors

view all co-sponsors

Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
view actions

actions

  • 05 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 29 / Apr / 2011
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 17 / Jun / 2011
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO ELECTIONS
  • 17 / Jun / 2011
    • PRINT NUMBER 609A
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 02 / Mar / 2012
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 12 / Mar / 2012
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES

Summary

Requires the use of a simple and easy to read typeface on paper ballots.

do you support this bill?

Bill Details

Versions:
S609
S609A
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง7-106, El L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S609

TITLE OF BILL:

An act
to amend the election law, in relation to the typeface to be
used on paper ballots

PURPOSE:

To make paper ballots more usable by the voting public through
requirements that ballots use a simple and easy to read type, and be
designed with a view towards usability, and by requiring that the
State and New York City boards of elections, as well as those in the
largest counties, have a full time employee on staff who is trained
in ballot design and usability.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Amends election law section 7-106(2) to require that paper
ballots use and simple and easy to read type style, and that
candidates names be printed in initial capital and lower case letters
of at least 12 point bold type.

It also amends election law section 7-106(2) to add a new subdivision
2-a, which requires that the New York State and New York City boards
of elections, as well as those in Erie, Nassau, Suffolk and
Westchester counties have one full time employee on staff who is fully
trained in effective ballot design and ballot usability It also
requires that such employee of the state board of elections be
available to review and advise the other counties on the proposed
design and usability of their ballots for primary, general and
special elections..

Section 2: Provides for the Act to take effect sixty days after it
becomes a law.

JUSTIFICATION:

Currently, election law section 7-106(2) does not contain any
requirements as to ballot readability or usability, and requires that
candidates' names appear in all capital bold type letters with no
minimum type size, all of which have made many ballots used in New
York City and elsewhere difficult for voters to read and use. With
the introduction of paper ballots statewide in 2010, this problem was
particularly acute. In fact, difficulty reading the ballot,
especially because of small type size, was the single most common
complaint following the 2010 general election.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission's report on Effective Designs
of Federal Elections, June 2007, Section 3: Optical Scan Ballots, in
its best practices recommendations, includes the specific changes in
the ballot requirements in this amendment to election law section
7-106(2). This report is referred to favorably by the Brennan
Center's 2008 report, entitled Better Ballots, which also includes
the changes made by this bill in its "Ballot Design Checklist".


These and other studies all stress the importance of ballot design and
usability, yet, despite their importance to the voters' ability to
successfully select their candidates and cast their ballots,
expertise in ballot design and usability is lacking within our boards
of elections. No additional hiring should be necessary to meet the
requirements for one full time employee in the State board of
elections, and one in the boards of elections of each of our largest
counties, to develop the necessary expertise in ballot design and
usability.
In fact, such expertise can largely be developed through self study of
the extensive amount of literature in this field, along with some
training courses.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

None

FISCAL IMPLICATION:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect sixty days after it becomes a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   609

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. ADDABBO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections

AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to the typeface to be used
  on paper ballots

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Subdivision  2  of  section  7-106 of the election law is
amended and a new subdivision 2-a is added to read as follows:
  2. All paper ballots of the same kind for the same polling place shall
be identical. A different, but in each case uniform style  and  size  of
SIMPLE  AND  EASY  TO READ type, SUCH AS ARIAL OR UNIVERS, shall be used
for printing the names of candidates, the titles of  offices,  political
designations, and the reading form of all questions submitted. The names
of candidates shall be printed in INITIAL capital FOLLOWED BY LOWER CASE
letters   [in   black-faced]   OF   NOT  LESS  THAN  TWELVE  POINT  BOLD
(BLACK-FACED) type.
  2-A. THE NEW YORK STATE, NEW YORK  CITY,  AND  THE  COUNTY  BOARDS  OF
ELECTIONS  FOR  THE  COUNTIES  OF  NASSAU, SUFFOLK, WESTCHESTER AND ERIE
SHALL AT ALL TIMES HAVE ONE FULL TIME EMPLOYEE ON  STAFF  WHO  IS  FULLY
TRAINED  IN  EFFECTIVE BALLOT DESIGN AND BALLOT USABILITY. SUCH EMPLOYEE
OF THE STATE BOARD SHALL BE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST TO REVIEW AND  ADVISE
ALL  COUNTIES  ON THE PROPOSED DESIGN AND USABILITY OF THEIR BALLOTS FOR
ALL PRIMARY, GENERAL AND SPECIAL ELECTIONS.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth  day  after  it  shall
have become a law.


 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD06239-01-1

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.