Election Websites: Alaska

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AK BONE2 Researchers assessed state election websites for the Pew Center on the States between May-November 2010, using detailed criteria evaluating the content, lookup tools, and usability. Websites may have changed since they were assessed. See methodology (PDF).

Strengths include:

  • A section for military and overseas voters on how to check their registration status and find out whether a submitted ballot has been received.
  • Translation of information into multiple languages in both audio and text formats.
  • Comprehensive information about how to register to vote and comply with state residency requirements, including guidance for college students and voters who have disabilities and/or are homeless.
  • Substantive information on ballot measures (including full texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses) and candidates (statements, party affiliations, contact information, and incumbency status).
  • Logical navigation, including changing the color of visited links and the use of “breadcrumbs” so that users know where they are on the website.
  • Exemplary use of a website search function, offering easy access to a simple-to-use, empty search field on every page.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Use prime space on the home page to direct users to important content on the website, instead of featuring a welcome message.
  • Offer lookup tools that allow voters to view sample ballots (22 states offer) and provisional ballot status (19 offer).
  • Provide easier access to tools for voters to view their registration status, polling place location, and absentee ballot status by entering their street address, instead of personal voter record information.
  • Explain how to obtain a replacement for an absentee ballot that does not arrive in the mail (19 states offer) or gets lost or damaged (18 offer) and whether absentee voters can get help with marking ballots (18 offer).
  • Offer a dedicated hotline/helpline to the state election office (30 states offer).
  • Describe personalized PDF forms as PDFs—not “online applications.”

Noteworthy Feature: A "Disabled Voter Assistance" page links directly to the registration form and absentee ballot application—both of which can be completed online and printed for those unable to complete the form by hand.

Initial Quick Fix: Provide a clear privacy policy so it is understood how personal information entered into forms or lookup tools will be used and protected (42 states offer).

Summary: Alaska scores above average in terms of usability and offering important voting information. It also provides three out of five recommended lookup tools.

www.elections.alaska.gov was assessed for content, lookup tools, and usability.

Media Contact

Stephanie Bosh

Officer, Communications

202.540.6741