February 16, 2011


The print size on the ballot in the Ballot Questions section is small and hard to read. This discourages people from voting on these questions. Election inspectors can attest to the number of ballots which leave the ballot questions section blank. In the [New] North End where we have many senior eyes, this can have the effect of SUPPRESSING THE VOTE.

I called the City Clerk's office, asked if there are LARGE PRINT ballots available at the polls? They forwarded me to a message machine. I called back and said I needed an answer now, and they put me on hold. Obviously, later confirmed, there are no LARGE PRINT ballots available.

So why not just print all the ballots so the questions are clearly readable? Page two of the current ballot has question #4-#8 on a half page. The print could easily have been enlarged. Could it be that the city does not want people to vote on the ballot questions, especially seniors who are a big part of the voters in wards 4 and 7?

CANDIDATE NAMES are HUGE compared to the wording of the ballot questions. The question headlines are larger and bolder, but they can be deceptively vague or misleading. PROPOSED CHARTER CHANGE -- COMPOSITION OF BOARD OF FINANCE. That tells you nothing, and the small print that follows is not likely to be read, or read carefully.
Discussion at North End NPA last night revealed serious need for clarification on several ballot questions due to creative, selective and thereby potentially biased and misleading headlines and summaries. Question #5 about 50% run-off voting is a good example. The word run-off was intentionally removed from the summary, by vote of a political block on Council.