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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).
- Simple-to-use and easy-to-understand lookup tools for registration status, polling place location, sample ballots, and absentee ballot status. The site offers four of five recommended lookup tools.
- Online voter registration tool using a driver's license number.
- Logical and consistent navigation on each page as users move through the website.
- A comprehensive section of information for voters with disabilities, including polling place accessibility and poll-worker assistance.
- Complete lists of contact information for state and federal candidates.
- Links to state and federal campaign finance information.
- E-mail notification system for informing voters of upcoming elections.
Recommended improvements include:
- Provide registration and voting information for students (36 states offer), the homeless (35 offer), voters who are hospitalized (27 offer), and residents of long-term care-facilities (25 offer).
- Enhance accessibility for people with visual disabilities by using scalable fonts, which allow users to easily change the size of text; “skip navigation links” that jump to main content on a page; and links that change color once visited.
- Present important information in HTML rather than PDF documents, which are more difficult to read and search online.
- Offer ballot measure summaries (39 states offer) and nonpartisan analyses (24 offer).
- Provide a lookup tool for voters to check their provisional ballot status (19 states 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).
- List contact information for local election officials.
- Offer candidate information, including incumbency status (9 states offer), occupation (6 offer), and candidate statements (6 offer).
Noteworthy Feature: Kansas' election results highlight “hot races,” using maps, raw vote counts, percentages, and lookup tools to illustrate the outcome of races.
Initial Quick Fix: Provide an explanation of how military and overseas voters can obtain and complete a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (30 states offer).
Summary: Kansas' websites score well for providing helpful information, including four out of five recommended lookup tools. Improving the home page and accessibility of the website could greatly help voters navigate important content.
www.kssos.org/elections/elections.html and www.voteks.org were assessed for content and lookup tools.
www.kssos.org/elections/elections.html was assessed for usability.