Last year saw a record number of discarded votes in New York elections, reports Politico--60,000 in total. The main culprit, apparently, was poorly designed ballots that let people vote for more than one candidate in a contest, according to a New York University study.
NYU Law School's Brennan Center for Justice found, in its study, that 20,000 votes for governor in the 2010 race, for example, were disallowed. As many as 40,000 vote in other races were also disallowed. In modern history, New York has never seen so many lost votes due to overvoting, Politico quoted the study as saying.
Apparently bad ballot design isn't just a New York problem. The study also noted that it has been a problem nationwide.
2010 was the first year that new optical scanners were used in New York--in place of the old lever machines. While that should actually have helped, according to the study, Politico noted, the protection alert messages aimed to help voters see when they had voted for two different candidates for the same race just didn't do its job. Apparently the message voters saw was confusing, according to the study. The result, said the online site, was that the message ended up making it more likely they [voters] would cast invalid votes, and less likely that they would cor5rect their ballots to ensure they were accurately counted.