senate Bill S1928

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

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Sponsor

Co-Sponsors

Bill Status


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

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 11 / Mar / 2013
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 22 / Apr / 2013
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Summary

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

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A64
Versions:
S1928
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง7-106, El L
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Cycle:
S609A, A4696A

Votes

3
5
3
Aye
5
Nay
1
aye with reservations
0
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
show Elections committee vote details

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1928 REVISED 4/23/13

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 PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends election law section 7-106(2) to require
that paper ballots use 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 further amends election law section
7-106(2) to add a new subdivision 2a, 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 advise the other counties on the proposed
design and usability of their ballots for primary, general and special
elections.

Section 2 of the bill establishes the effective date.

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.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011 - S. 609 - Referred to Elections 2012 - S.
609-A - Died in Rules Committee

FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first day of
January next succeeding the date on which it has become a law.

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

                                  1928

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

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 ADVISE  ALL  COUN-
TIES  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 first of January next  succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.


 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02193-01-3

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