How to Vote in New York City: Do Not Follow the Instructions New York City Gives You


Democracy is a complex process! Never more so, apparently, than in New York City, where our Primary Elections last month turned into a complete and utter shitshow to the nth degree. So, how exactly, is one supposed to vote in New York City? Do we really need instructions to vote?

Apparently, yes, we do, but not the instructions actually given to us by New York City, which read:


“To vote for a candidate whose name is printed on this ballot, fill in the oval above or next to the name of the candidate.”


Which is, of course, incorrect. This news comes via WNYC and The Brennen Center for Justice, who actually found that the wording — which would cause you to vote for the wrong candidate — is mandated by state law.

One more time:

The incorrect instructions on how to vote are mandated by state law.

On the sample ballot, each candidate and his or her oval are bounded by a box, and in most cases the proper oval is clearly below the candidate’s name. But ballot designers have expressed concern that sometimes the nearest oval is actually just above the candidate’s name — potentially causing confusion even without the incorrect instructions.

To fix this, the New York City Board of Elections — which is so incompetent they need a public radio station and a nonprofit to get them to issue correct instructions to New Yorkers on how to vote — issued the following statement:

On November 2, New York City voters will vote using a paper ballot and optical scanner. To vote for a candidate whose name appears on the paper ballot, voters need to fill in the oval that appears within the voting square for that candidate.”

Whether or not that’s going to actually appear on a ballot remains to be seen, but hey, journalists: not afraid to be (public) servicey. Because the ones New Yorkers have, who are supposed to be doing that for them, are simply too restricted by ugly red tape and their own incompetence to do so.

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