Election Websites: Idaho

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ID BONE2Researchers 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:

  • Lookup tools that allow voters to view their registration status, polling place location, and absentee ballot status.
  • Ballot measure information, including texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses.
  • Presentation of important information in HTML, which is easier to search and browse than PDF documents.
  • Access for voters with visual disabilities, with good use of text as an alternative to graphics for those who cannot see images, links that change color once visited, and high contrast between text and background colors.
  • Information for people with disabilities, including instructions for use of state's voting machines in HTML, PDF, Word, audio, and video formats.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide a sample-ballot lookup tool (22 states offer).
  • On the home page of the “Idaho Votes” website, offer centrally located links to important content on registration, polling places, and absentee voting, instead of using prime space for a welcome letter that most users will ignore.
  • Provide more extensive information for military and overseas voters, including when to use (39 states offer) and how to obtain (30 states offer) the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, and an explanation of circumstances requiring them to re-register (22 offer) or renew their requests for absentee ballots (31 states offer).
  • Explain how to obtain a replacement for an absentee ballot that does not arrive in the mail (19 states offer) or is lost or damaged (18 offer).
  • Note the availability of TDD or TTY access for users with hearing disabilities (33 states offer).
  • Enhance accessibility for people with visual disabilities on the “Idaho Votes” website, using “scalable fonts,” which allow users to easily change the size of text on a site and “skip navigation links,” which jump to the main content on a page for those using screen-reading software.
  • Use a secure server for sensitive personal information users are required to give to lookup tools (35 states offer).
  • Improve navigation on the “Idaho Votes” website to help users determine where they are on the site and find other relevant pages located deep within the site.

Noteworthy Feature: None included for Idaho.

Initial Quick Fix: Provide a dedicated hotline/helpline to the state election office (30 states offer).

Summary: Idaho scores low for offering only basic information on its websites, including three out of five recommended lookup tools for voting information.

www.idahovotes.gov and www.sos.idaho.gov were assessed for content and lookup tools. 

www.idahovotes.gov was assessed for usability.

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Stephanie Bosh

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202.540.6741