Election Websites: New York

Election Websites: New York

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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).

Strengths include:

  • High-quality videos for people with disabilities, detailing the accessibility features of the state's voting machines and demonstrating how to ask for and receive assistance at the polls.
  • A comprehensive section of information and resources for military and overseas voters—one of the best in the nation (provided in partnership with the Overseas Vote Foundation).
  • Lookup tools that allow voters to find out their registration status and polling place.
  • A “Skip navigation links” option allows users with visual disabilities using screen-reading software to jump to the main content on a page.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide information about statewide ballot measures (43 states offer), such as full texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses.
  • Allow access to the polling place lookup tool by street address, instead of personal voter record information (27 states offer).
  • Offer lookup tools to allow users to view a sample ballot (22 states offer) as well as the status of an absentee ballot (29 offer) or provisional ballot (19 offer).
  • Provide information about what to do if an absentee ballot does not arrive in the mail (19 states offer), or is lost or destroyed (18 offer).
  • Provide information about voters' rights to cast provisional ballots (43 states offer).
  • Offer information about how homeless people without permanent addresses can register and vote (35 states offer).
  • Improve site navigation and organization on the Board of Elections website by grouping together relevant information and structuring it logically, especially in the Voter Information section.
  • Offer candidate contact information such as street address (44 states offer), phone number (23 offer), e-mail address (19 offer), and website (20 offer).

Noteworthy Feature: New York publishes a set of clear, helpful tables with overviews of the special dates and deadlines that apply to military and overseas voters, enabling them to request, receive, and submit their ballot materials on time.

Initial Quick Fix: Add a privacy policy to address concerns about site security and privacy that are associated with entering sensitive personal information into the lookup tools (42 states offer).

Summary: New York's websites offer just two out of five recommended lookup tools and score below average for both content and lookup tools.

http://www.elections.ny.gov/ and www.vote-ny.com were assessed for content and lookup tools.

http://www.elections.ny.gov/ was assessed for usability.