Election Websites: Hawaii

Election Websites: Hawaii

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HI BONE2Researchers 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).

Strengths include:

  • Logical organization and prominent placement of important details about registration and voting, allowing users to get information without having to jump around the website or visit multiple pages.
  • Comprehensive information for voters with disabilities.
  • Prominent placement of information on voter registration, including information for felons, the homeless, hospitalized voters and residents of long-term-care facilities, and a telephone number so voters can confirm registration.
  • Accessible for users with visual disabilities.
  • Toll-free number allows voters to check the status of provisional ballots.
  • A Google search returns the website as the first result when searching for “register to vote in Hawaii” and “polling places in Hawaii.”

Recommended improvements include:

  • Offer lookup tools that allow voters to view their registration status (41 states offer) and status of absentee ballots (29 offer) and provisional ballots (19 offer). Hawaii has only two of five recommended lookup tools.
  • On the home page, prioritize and group together key data for voters and distinguish it from information for candidates or the media. Also highlight such important content as fact sheets prominently to make it accessible from the homepage. Eliminate redundant links, such as “Voter Information” and “Voters,” which both lead to the same page.
  • Provide voting information for students (36 states offer).
  • Provide more extensive information for military and overseas voters, including how to verify their registration status (27 states offer), how to obtain and complete a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (30 offer), and how to check the status of their voted ballots (33 offer).
  • Explain how to obtain a replacement ballot for an absentee ballot that does not arrive in the mail (19 states offer), or is lost or damaged (18 offer).
  • Provide a description of voting machines used in polling places (47 states offer) and a tutorial on how to complete a ballot (38 offer).
  • Offer ballot measure information including full texts (34 states offer), summaries (39 offer), and nonpartisan analyses (24 offer).
  • Improve navigation to help users determine where they are on the website and find other relevant pages located deep within the website.
  • Present important information in HTML rather than PDF documents, which are more difficult to read and search online.

Noteworthy Feature: Well-organized fact sheets have valuable information for site visitors and are presented in an alphabetical index. 

Initial Quick Fix: Include a noticeable link from the state website's homepage to the voting information site.

Summary: Hawaii scores low overall and presents a below-average web site for users with voting information that is not prioritized and sometimes duplicative. Users have access to just two of the five recommended lookup tools.

http://hawaii.gov/elections was assessed for content, lookup tools, and usability.