Election Websites: North Carolina
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).
- All five recommended lookup tools, including a unique polling place locator that is accessible by street address and features images of the entrance, interior, exterior, and parking for each location, as well as a list of elections for each precinct dating to the early 1990s.
- An integrated “Voter Lookup” interface that allows voters to see their ballot content and check the status of their registration, absentee ballot, or provisional ballot.
- Comprehensive instructions for how to cast a ballot, including identification requirements, polling place hours, and descriptions of voting systems.
- Information on a voter's right to cast a provisional ballot.
- Complete list of upcoming election dates.
- Contact information for state and local election officials.
- Timely and user-friendly online election results.
- Consistent, logical navigation system.
- 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 a secure server, especially in the “Voter Lookup” section where site users enter sensitive personal information (35 states offer).
- Offer information about statewide ballot measures (43 states offer), such as full texts, summaries, and analyses.
- Link to the Federal Election Commission database of campaign finance reports for congressional candidates (37 states offer).
- Provide a list of official state political parties (38 states offer).
- Offer candidate information such as e-mail addresses (19 states offer), website (20 offer), phone numbers (23 offer), and occupations (6 offer).
- Provide on the homepage prominent links that are not solely image-based to important information.
- Simplify the street address search of the polling place locator by using fewer fields.
- Describe what information users will receive from the “Voter Lookup” tool.
Noteworthy Feature: Across the top of every page, North Carolina innovatively displays a line showing current voter registration totals in the state, broken down by political party. This set of statistics often is difficult to find on state election websites.
Initial Quick Fix: Consolidate information for military and overseas voters into one page, rather than featuring some on the military voters' page and some on the absentee voting page.
Summary: North Carolina offers all five recommended lookup tools. The website has a clean design and is easy to navigate, earning an above-average score for usability.
www.ncsbe.gov was assessed for content and lookup tools.
www.sboe.state.nc.us was assessed for usability.