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Font Size Upped on Ballots in New York This November

After hearing complaints about the font size of the candidates' names being too small, the Board of Elections voted to increase the size.

The city’s Board of Elections voted on Tuesday to increase the font size on its ballots for the general election in November, after many New Yorkers complained that it was difficult to read the names of the candidates during this month’s primary election, says the New York Times.

The candidates’ names will now be printed in a nine-point font, up from the previous seven-point font that was used.

“That’s as big as we were able to get it,” Juan Carlos Polanco, a commissioner on the Board of Elections, told the paper.

According to the board, state law required uniform font sizes across ballots, so there was not too much leeway. Ballot designers, though, discovered that if longer names were broken up across two lines of type, larger letters could fit.

“It’s not where they should be, but it is an improvement,” said Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, who sponsored the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, which originally called for a large twelve-point font.

Councilman Jumaane Williams, D-Ditmas Park, had publicly expressed concern about possible disenfranchisement after he witnessed first-hand the problems senior citizens and immigrants experienced during the Sept. 13 primary election.

He suggested a number of reforms to aid these local voters, including increasing the font size on ballots, as well as sending an additional mailing to inform those whose poll site has changed.

Williams, along with Council members Vincent Gentile and Letitia James, addressed these problems and discussed their concerns of voter disenfranchisement during a Sept. 20 press conference on the steps of City Hall. 

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