As the Brennan Center found in Better Ballots, common problems due to poor ballot design and instructions have led to the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters. As recently as last week, we were reminded of the importance ballot design can play in a close election. The results of a hotly contested City Council race in upstate New York were overturned after a hand recount found that a voting machine had not properly counted two ballots.
One of the two ballots in question was improperly marked; a voter had circled an oval instead of filling it in. Although the machine was unable to detect the vote,the voter’s intent was clear to election officials as they reviewed the ballot.The margin of victory in that election was single vote. Mistakes like these can often be prevented through clearer instructions on how to properly mark a ballot.In this upcoming election season, we hope to see more important tools like these that will help election officials prepare for elections.
Full Article: ReformNY: New Efforts to Improve Ballot Design.