Top Designers Speak Out on the Ballot

Email a Friend

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. On Brian Lehrer today, Charles Blow, New York Times visual Op-Ed columnist; Julie Lasky, editor of the Change Observer channel at Design Observer; and Milton Glaser, designer of the "I ♥ NY" logo talked about the design of the new ballots and voting system.

Charles Blow's reaction to the new voting experience began with the ambiance. Before he even gets to the paper ballots, he says he's a bit nostalgic for the voting booths. 

"The kind of old world, flipping of the switches and the finality of the crunch that I loved so much - all that is gone."

But Blow had some concrete issues with the layout of the new paper ballot. He says he found the information on the ballot cramped together and poorly organized. 

For instance, why aren't national races, and state races and city races separated on the ballot so you understand how many people or sections you have to vote for? It was hard for me. I almost looked over sections of the ballot because they just folded in in a random order.

I [HEART] NY revolutionized logos and city marketing around the world. So its designer, guru Milton Glaser, says he wonders why the city didn't call to ask him to work on the ballot. What would he change about the type? You name it.

"Contrast, scale, choice of typeface. Any number of other things. It's really incompetent."

Milton Glaser says that the size of the font alone is impossible - too small. He says he would even work pro bono to re-design the ballot. But Julie Lasky says that voting in Park Slope was a breeze this morning. While she agrees with Blow and Glaser about font size and layout, she feels that the total voting procedure was more conducive.

Procedurally it works because before when we had the lever system and we had to go in behind a curtain. Even if the voting area was empty, you still couldn't take your time, you had to hustle yourself out of there. But the situation where you can go and pick any number of different locations to fill out the ballot left a lot of time to figure things out.