More Ballot Design Challenges in Ohio?

October 24, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about some counties in Ohio that split the presidential contest into two columns on their paper ballots. We noted that this kind of split has caused problems for voters in the past.

More recently we've found out that some counties that use touch screen machines have split the presidential contest onto two pages -- meaning on the first screen voters might see Barr and Nader, and on the second screen McCain and Obama. For reasons explained in a memo we sent to county officials, that's likely to confuse and frustrate a fair number of voters. So far we have confirmed that Portage (home of Kent State), Hancock, and Wayne Counties have split the presidential contest this way. Others like Montgomery, Stark, and Butler Counties have managed to get the presidential contest (eight candidates and a write-in slot) onto one screen.

We've asked officials to change this ballot to make sure all candidates for the same office are on the same screen -- or, short of that, to make sure there is good public education at the polls to reduce voter confusion and frustration.