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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).
- Complete information about statewide ballot measures, including full texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses.
- A comprehensive listing of state and federal candidates' phone numbers, street addresses, e-mail addresses and websites.
- Lookup tools that allow voters to check their absentee ballot status, view a sample ballot, and find their polling place.
- Polling place locator based on street address, allowing users to find this information regardless of registration status.
- Strong features that make the website accessible to voters with disabilities, including scalable fonts to allow users to easily change the website's text size; text as an alternative to graphics for those who cannot see images; and “skip navigation links” that jump to the main content on a page for people using screen-reading software.
Recommended improvements include:
- Provide information for military and overseas voters about how to obtain and use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (39 states offer), list the circumstances under which military voters must renew requests for an absentee ballot (31 offer), and provide a way to check its status (33 offer).
- Explain whether voting records are considered public information (30 states offer).
- Provide voting-process information for those who are hospitalized (27 states offer) or reside in long-term-care facilities (25 offer).
- Create clear links from the home page to pages with important information for voters.
- Provide better navigation throughout the site, so site users do not have to continually return to the homepage to find other content.
Noteworthy Feature: North Dakota's online election results are displayed through interactive maps and a “My Tracked Contests” feature that lets site visitors follow results of selected contests. The website also offers a quick, clear visual representation of statewide voter turnout.
Initial Quick Fix: Add job descriptions detailing the qualifications and terms of office for all elected positions in North Dakota (5 states offer).
Summary: North Dakota's website has an average score in the content category, a weak usability performance, and a perfect score for the three lookup tools that apply to its voters.
www.nd.gov/sos was assessed for content and lookup tools.
www.nd.gov/sos/electvote was assessed for usability.