MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County voters will find their ballots to be more readable this year due to accessibility enhancements announced by Election Commissioners Norman P. Green and Brian C. Abram for the Nov. 6 General Election.
Voters will find candidate names to be in 11.5-point font this year compared to 8-point font for previous elections. Also, Spanish language ballots and interpreters will be available on request for all voters in Jamestown and Dunkirk.
In contrast, the New York City Board of Elections voted Tuesday to increase ballot font size to 9 point. The city elections were already offering ballots in five different languages.
"Our deputy election commissioners make up the board's bipartisan ballot creation team," said Abram. "The team has been extremely innovative with new ideas that increase accessibility for the voters.
"Other aids available to the voters who are having a hard time reading the ballots on Election Day are newer and better magnifiers that are available in the back of all voting booths and we continue to have the ability to have the ballot read to the voter by an Election Inspector or by using the accessibility feature on the back of the voting machine scanner," concluded Abram.
Green added, "Spanish ballots will be available at all Jamestown and Dunkirk poll sites on request and all election day materials will be available in both Spanish and English at our poll sites located in the county's two cities."
The state Attorney General's office has called on 10 counties, including Chautauqua County, to help Spanish-speaking voters. The Attorney General's office brought to the county Board of Election's attention of the high number of individuals of Puerto Rican descent in Chautauqua County.
"The Attorney General's office reached out to our county Board of Elections specifically due to our high population of those from Puerto Rico," Green said. "The recommendations from the Attorney General's office is part of the Voting Rights Act which requires all voting materials, including ballots, be available in Spanish as well as having a Spanish-speaking translator available at some polling sites. It is important that we enfranchise our U.S. citizens who have moved to the area from Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States," Green said.
The Board of Elections' website, www.votechautauqua.com, has available Google Translator where more than 60 languages can be selected. Also on the website are absentee ballot applications available in English and Spanish. The Board of Elections is also working on contracting with AT&T to have translation capabilities on phone lines as well as working with the League of Women Voters to recruit more bilingual election inspectors, according to the two commissioners.