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Ballot Marking Device

Ballot Marking Device

Using the Ballot Marking Device (BMD)

Accessible Voting Equipment

Every poll site in New York City has at least one Ballot Marking Device (BMD). The BMD is an electronic device that provides voters, including voters with disabilities, the ability to mark their ballot privately and independently. The BMD used in New York City is the ES&S AutoMARK.


ADA Training Videos


The BMD provides two ways for voters to access the ballot:


  1. See the ballot on the display screen.
  2. Listen to the ballot through audio headphones.


The BMD provides four ways for voters to mark the ballot:


1. Touch screen


The BMD touchscreen shows a ballot.  The touchscreen in an upright rectangle and the keypad is on the lower right-hand side.


2. Key Pad (Braille)


The BMD touchscreen shows a ballot, and the keypad with braille on the lower right-hand side is highlighted by a red box. Image insert of the keypad is divided into two sections.  On the right, there are four buttons: diamond-shaped 'Screen On' button on the top, followed by a circular 'Audio Repeat' button directly below, followed by oval 'Audio Speed' button with a minus on the left of the oval and a plus on the right of the oval, followed by oval 'Volume' button with a minus on the left of the oval and a plus on the right on the bottom of the oval. On the left of the keypad are five directional buttons: triangle 'Up' button on top, triangle 'Forward' button on the right, triangle 'Down' button on the bottom, triangle 'Back' button on the left, and square 'Select' button in the middle.


3. Sip & Puff Device


A black woman wearing the sip and puff headset while looking at the BMD display screen.  The black headset rests over her ears and wraps behind her head, and the clear tube is inserted into her mouth.


4. Rocker Paddle


The image on the left shows the rocker paddle on the floor while a person wearing a black shoe steps on the 'Scroll/No' button of the left side of the rocker paddle.  The image on the right shows the rocker paddle resting on a person’s lap, with one hand on each button: the 'Scroll/No' button on the left of the device, and the 'Select/Yes' button on the right of the device.


Follow these steps to mark your ballot using the BMD:


  1. Decide how you will access and mark the ballot.
  2. Insert your ballot into the feed tray.
  3. Select your preferred language.
  4. Select each candidate and/or issue for which you intend to mark a vote.
  • Your selections will be highlighted in yellow on the screen and will be read through the headphones.
  • Make sure the oval is filled in black.
  1. For write-in candidates, select "Write-in."
  • Select letters to type the name of a candidate and select "OK."
  1. After completing your ballot, review your selections.
  • To change a selection, select the contest or issue you would like to change and reselect the proper choice. Select "NEXT" to return to the summary screen.

  • You may choose to void the ballot and start the process over. Voters have three opportunities to mark their ballot as they wish.

  1. When finished, select "NEXT." Select "Mark Ballot" to print your marked ballot.
  2. Take your printed ballot to the scanner area.
  • Your selections are not final until you insert your marked ballot into the scanner and cast your vote.
  • If you would like assistance inserting your ballot into the scanner, a poll worker will assist you.


BMD Accessibility Features


At the bottom of the display screen you may change how the ballot looks:


  • Select "ZOOM IN" to make the text larger.
  • Select "ZOOM OUT" to bring the text back to original size.
  • Select "HIGH CONTRAST" to display the ballot in white text on a black background.

You may adjust the audio on the headphones:


  • Repeat audio.
  • Increase or decrease the speed of the audio.
  • Increase or decrease the audio volume. (The volume is initially set on low.)


Languages on the BMD


The BMD will support all languages on the ballot. Depending on what is currently required by law in the voter's Election District, the following languages may be available:


  • Paper Ballots: English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean, Bengali
  • Text on Scanner and BMD: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Bengali
  • Audio on BMD: English, Spanish, Chinese - Mandarin, Chinese – Cantonese, Korean, Bengali


Additional Information about BMD


Each BMD has a bipartisan poll worker team dedicated to the machine who are available to assist voters as needed. Every poll site also has ADA-focused poll workers called Accessibility Clerks who provide assistance to voters with disabilities upon request. Any voter may be assisted by any person of their choice, except their employer or union representative.


  • The BMD does NOT print the ballot. The voter inserts the same paper ballot that everyone else in the poll site uses.
  • The BMD does NOT scan the ballot. Once the BMD marks the ballot, the voter scans the marked ballot into the optical scanner