The Voter Friendly Ballot Act (A7492-A) is legislation to simplify New York State’s paper ballot design, and is the product of collaboration between New York State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, the Brennan Center, the Usability Professionals Association, and AIGA, the professional association for design.
New York’s 2010 primary and general elections were the first conducted with New York’s new, Help America Vote Act-compliant optical scanning machines. Voters used the machines to scan their paper ballots, but a major Election Day complaint was that the ballots themselves were confusing and difficult to read. New York’s ballot design is governed by strict guidelines codified in the state’s election law, but these rules were written for the recently-replaced mechanical lever voting machines.
With new machines, New Yorkers have a right to expect new, user-friendly ballots. The Voter Friendly Ballot Act will set new standards to ensure New Yorkers can vote with ease and confidence while preserving flexibility for local election administrators.
Official information on the Voter Friendly Ballot Act, including the full text, sponsor memorandum, and co-sponsor list, is available via the State Assembly website and the State Senate’s OpenLegislation database.
Slideshow Highlighting Proposed Design Changes
Proposed Amendments to State Election Law
Ballot Designs Before and After Proposed Changes
Annotated Graphical Markup of Proposed Changes from WNYC’s “It’s a Free Country”
The following document displays the revisions the Voter Friendly Ballot Act would make to New York State Election Law, Sections 7–104 and 7–106.
Proposed Markup to Change Ballot Design Law
Before & After: Old Ballot Design and New Design with Proposed Changes