The city Board of Elections is going to try something different this November: Printing ballots voters can actually read. The Board took a beating over the eye-straining six-point typeface on last year’s general election ballots from a legion of elected officials and watchdog groups who said the print was preposterously small. The 2013 problem arose because of the number of languages — as many as five in some pockets of Queens — into which the ballots had to be translated. Now the Board will do what some say it could well have done last year: Print no more than three languages on any single ballot, which will boost the type size to 10 points. The agency insisted it had no choice but to microsize the print citywide last year because providing ballots with varying type sizes might trigger accusations of discrimination and possibly lawsuits.
New York City has 5,369 election districts, according to the Board. Of those, just 194 — all located in polyglot Queens — have enough qualifying voters to require ballots in four languages.
And in only 79 districts — also all in Queens — must the Board provide ballots in all five languages it offers: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Bengali. In those 79 spots, pollsites will be equipped with three sets of ballots, each printed in English and Spanish plus one of the other three Asian languages.