Election Websites: Indiana
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).
- Lookup tools that allow voters to view their registration status, polling place location, sample ballots, and status of absentee and provisional ballots.
- Extensive information about casting a ballot, including identification requirements at the polls, polling place hours, and instructions on how to complete a ballot.
- Comprehensive information on absentee voting, including eligibility, deadlines, and instructions on what to do if a requested ballot does not arrive in the mail, or is lost or damaged.
- Information for people with disabilities, including an excellent video explaining voting machines available to them.
- Descriptive link names that clearly indicate the content that users will see, rather than “Click Here” or “Go.”
- Website search function is consistently located on every page.
Recommended improvements include:
- On the home page, make content easier to scan, place important links for users (such as the “Voter Information Portal”) more prominently on the center of the page instead of in sidebars, where they might be overlooked.
- Keep navigation consistent across all pages so that users know where they are on the website.
- Include instructions for military and overseas voters on how to obtain and complete a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (30 states offer),
- Present important information in HTML format rather than in PDF documents, which are more difficult to read and search online.
- Make content understandable to low-literacy users by writing at the eighth-grade level or lower.
- Enhance accessibility for people with visual disabilities, using scalable fonts that allow them to easily change the size of text on a website; text as an alternative to graphics for users who cannot see images; “skip navigation links” that jump to the main content on a page; and links that change color once visited.
- Provide voting information for felons (47 states offer) and hospitalized voters (27 offer).
- Offer candidate information, including e-mail addresses (19 states offer), websites (20 offer), telephone numbers (23 offer), incumbency status (9 offer), statements (6 offer), and occupation (6 offer).
- Display election results in percentages (40 states offer), by precinct (29 offer), and with maps (21 offer).
Noteworthy Feature: Indiana provides training videos with specialized instructions to users, including those with disabilities, on its voting systems.
Initial Quick Fix: Provide Web addresses or links to local election officials (34 states offer).
Summary: Indiana's website scores highly for providing above-average information and for having all five recommended lookup tools for voting information, but some might find its site difficult to navigate.
www.in.gov/sos/index.htm was assessed for content and lookup tools.
www.in.gov/sos/elections was assessed for usability.