The New York City Board of Elections has announced that the ballot for New York city’s election on November 5, 2013, will be printed in six-point type. This means that most voters will be required to use a magnifying glass. Ordinary newspaper print is ten-point type. See this story.
Part of the reason is that there are fifteen candidates for Mayor, and some of them have multiple listings on the ballot, so that twenty spaces are needed for the mayoral race. However, there have been many jurisdictions that had races with more candidates than that for a single office, that did not use tiny print. Many New Hampshire presidential primaries have had more candidates: 1992 Democratic had 36, 2012 Republican had 30, 1988 Democratic had 25, 1992 Republican had 25, 2004 Democratic had 23, 1984 Democratic had 22, 1996 Republican had 22, 1996 Democratic had 21, 2008 Democratic had 21, 2008 Republican had 21. New Hampshire ballots didn’t use tiny print.
The story mentions that part of the problem is New York state’s law that does not give flexibility to election administrators, and part of the problem is that everything must be printed in five languages. If New York city used paper ballots, it could print different ballots for each language. If it used touch-screen ballots, the touch-screen could be programmed to let a voter choose the desired language. But because New York city is using old-fashioned mechanical voting machines, those options aren’t available. Thanks to Steve Urbano for the link.