Election Websites: Louisiana

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LA 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:

  • Home page that features prominent, targeted information for voters with navigation that is logical, indicates the categories of information provided, and is consistent on each page.
  • Lookup tools that allow voters to view their registration, polling place location, sample ballots, and status of absentee and provisional ballots. Louisiana's site offers all five recommended lookup tools.
  • Extensive information on voter registration, including eligibility and residency requirements, deadlines, and information for students, felons, the homeless, hospitalized voters, and residents of long-term-care facilities.
  • Ballot measure information including full texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses.
  • Prominent and clearly described privacy policy regarding personal information entered into lookup tools.
  • Navigation that is logical and consistent, with “breadcrumbs” that help users determine where they are on the website.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Use concise, easy-to-scan text throughout site, including bullet points and hyperlinks.
  • Increase the text size on the navigation bar.
  • Outline circumstances requiring military and overseas voters to re-register (22 states offer) or renew their requests for absentee ballots (31 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).
  • Present important information in HTML rather than PDF documents, which are more difficult to read and search online.
  • Allow users to return from the voting information tool page without using the "back" button on the browser.
  • Enhance accessibility for people with visual disabilities. That means using scalable fonts that allow users to easily change the size of text on a website; links that change color once visited; and “skip navigation links” that jump to the main content on a page.
  • Provide Web addresses or links to local election officials (34 states offer).

Noteworthy Feature: A comprehensive, all-in-one lookup tool allows voters to view their registration status, polling place location, sample ballots, and status of absentee and provisional ballots in addition to districts, contact information for their parish registrar of voters, personalized election calendar, absentee ballot request, and early voting locations and times.

Initial Quick Fix: Provide a way for military and overseas voters to verify their registration status (27 states do this).

Summary: Louisiana's website scores well, providing all five recommended lookup tools and comprehensive voting information for users. It rates average in usability.

www.sos.louisiana.gov was assessed for content and lookup tools.

www.sos.louisiana.gov/tabid/68/Default.aspx was assessed for usability.

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Stephanie Bosh

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202.540.6741