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Elections officials make ballot adjustments

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As the election nears, officials are moving to upgrade ballots to meet new standards. The problems and solutions vary, including in Chautauqua County where voters will be seeing an increased type size.

Across the state, there have been problems because voters have trouble reading the ballot when the type face is small for the aging eyes of many New Yorkers.

Chautauqua has been using ballots with 8-point type, roughly the type face used on most newspaper pages. The County Board of Elections is increasing that to 11.5 point type.

New York City went from 8-point to 9-point, dealing with the same readability problem.

Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says none of this affects the actual voting; rather, the move is a reflection of voter complaints.

"Size of the ballot, obviously, is based on the amount of races and you hope that you can have it on a 17-inch ballot," Abram said.

"You can go to a 22-inch ballot. But in our situation, we have the races which will match the 17-inch ballot and the 11.5-font, so it'll be a much more readable ballot."

Chautauqua County is also joining many counties across the state in offering Spanish-language ballots and voter material in Dunkirk and Jamestown.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.