10/17/2008 - As Election Day approaches, most of the nearly two thirds of Americans who peruse government websites may be disappointed when they search for voting information.
A report released yesterday on each state's official elections site found that the average site wasn't particularly accessible or effective. Only six states, led by Iowa, scored well on their sites' abilities to be found easily and to provide comprehensive, visible, and useful information. Meanwhile, three battleground states—Georgia, New Mexico, and New Hampshire—were among the 10 lowest performers. (New Hampshire was dead last.)
The most common issue wasn't a lack of information; it was the difficulty of finding it. For some states, even finding the official election sites was a problem. "The average user only spends about two minutes on a Web search before giving up," says Kil Huh, research director at the Pew Center on the States. The official site should appear as the first search result, he says. For 12 states, however, searching for "voting in" and the state's name did not bring up the official site as the first link. One, South Dakota, did not appear on the first page of results at all, according to the report, produced by Pew's Make Voting Work.
Read the full article Many State Election Websites Are Called Hard to Use—or Even Find on the U.S. News & World Report Web site.