Election Websites: Ohio
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).
- Instructional videos in various formats demonstrating the types of voting equipment used throughout the state.
- Current and archived election results displayed in percentages, by counties, and by precincts.
- Comprehensive resource section for voters with disabilities.
- Complete information for military and overseas voters about how to register, request absentee ballots, and obtain and use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.
- Simple voter registration lookup tool.
- Polling place locator accessible by street address that includes maps, directions, and the estimated time it would take to travel from the voter's home to the polling location.
- A Google search returns the website as the first result when searching for “register to vote in Ohio” and “polling places in Ohio.”
Recommended improvements include:
- Provide a way for military voters to check the status of their absentee ballots (33 states offer).
- Furnish candidate information such as phone numbers (23 states offer), e-mail addresses (19 offer), websites (20 offer), candidate statements (6 offer), and occupations (6 offer).
- Provide archived lists of candidates from past elections (31 states offer).
- Present a list of official state political parties (38 offer) and contact information, or links to party websites (32 states offer).
- Provide job descriptions for elective offices (5 states offer).
- Offer lookup tools for voters to learn the status of their absentee ballot (29 states offer), sample ballot (22 offer), or provisional ballot (19 offer).
- Implement navigation that is logical and consistent on each page.
- Reduce redundancy of site content.
- Use easy-to-scan text that is concise, with bullet points and hyperlinks.
Noteworthy Feature: An interactive, mini-version of the state's election calendar appears on nearly every page of the website, reminding voters of upcoming important dates and deadlines.
Initial Quick Fix: Ohio could improve the security of voters' sensitive personal information by transitioning the lookup tool for voter registration status to a secure server (35 states offer).
Summary: Ohio's website is above average in terms of content. The state offers just two out of five recommended lookup tools, however, lowering its overall score.
www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections.aspx was assessed for content and lookup tools.
www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/voter.aspx was assessed for usability.