Election Websites: Connecticut
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).
- An informative section for military and overseas voters that includes details about how to register, how to obtain and complete the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, and how to check the status of a voted ballot.
- Lookup tools that allow voters to view their registration status, polling place location, and absentee ballot status.
- A section geared toward people with disabilities that provides instruction on how to use special voting machines in polling places and information about the availability of poll worker assistance.
- A website search function that is consistently located on every page and returns relevant results.
Recommended improvements include:
- Provide information on state residency requirements for registering to vote (44 states offer), including information for students (36 offer), the homeless (35 offer), and residents of long-term-care facilities (25 offer).
- Offer lookup tools that allow voters to view sample ballots (22 states offer) and provisional ballot status (19 offer).
- Present important information in HTML rather than PDF documents, which are more difficult to read and search online.
- Provide application deadlines for absentee ballots (40 states offer).
- Explain how to obtain a replacement for a lost or damaged absentee ballot (18 states offer) and note whether absentee voters may receive assistance in marking their ballots (18 offer).
- Provide an explanation of circumstances requiring military and overseas voters to re-register (22 states offer).
- Use jargon-free language targeted to voters and written at the eighth-grade level to make content understandable to low-literacy users.
- Provide full texts (34 states offer), summaries (39 offer), and nonpartisan analyses (24 offer) of ballot measures.
- Offer a dedicated hotline/helpline to the state election office (30 states offer).
- Publish election results by precinct (29 states offer), by county (48 offer), in percentages (40 offer) or with maps (21 offer).
- Offer candidate information, including e-mail addresses (19 states offer), websites (20 offer) and telephone numbers (23 offer), incumbency status (9 offer), statements (6 offer), and occupation (6 offer).
Noteworthy Feature: Connecticut provides 90-second video demonstrations of its voting machines in English and Spanish.
Initial Quick Fix: Link to the Federal Election Commission database of campaign finance reports for congressional candidates (37 states do this).
Summary: Low usability and lack of content account for Connecticut's lower score, despite strong offerings for military and overseas voters and for people with disabilities. Connecticut provides three out of five recommended lookup tools for voting information.
http://www.ct.gov/sots/site/default.asp was assessed for usability.