Election Websites: North Carolina

Election Websites: North Carolina

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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:

  • All five recommended lookup tools, including a unique polling place locator that is accessible by street address and features images of the entrance, interior, exterior, and parking for each location, as well as a list of elections for each precinct dating to the early 1990s.
  • An integrated “Voter Lookup” interface that allows voters to see their ballot content and check the status of their registration, absentee ballot, or provisional ballot.
  • Comprehensive instructions for how to cast a ballot, including identification requirements, polling place hours, and descriptions of voting systems.
  • Information on a voter's right to cast a provisional ballot.
  • Complete list of upcoming election dates.
  • Contact information for state and local election officials.
  • Timely and user-friendly online election results.
  • Consistent, logical navigation system.
  • Exemplary use of a website search function, offering easy access to a simple-to-use, empty search field on every page.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Use a secure server, especially in the “Voter Lookup” section where site users enter sensitive personal information (35 states offer).
  • Provide a privacy policy to inform site users of the agency's data collection practices (42 states offer).
  • Offer information about statewide ballot measures (43 states offer), such as full texts, summaries, and analyses.
  • Link to the Federal Election Commission database of campaign finance reports for congressional candidates (37 states offer).
  • Provide a list of official state political parties (38 states offer).
  • Offer candidate information such as e-mail addresses (19 states offer), website (20 offer), phone numbers (23 offer), and occupations (6 offer).
  • Provide on the homepage prominent links that are not solely image-based to important information.
  • Simplify the street address search of the polling place locator by using fewer fields.
  • Describe what information users will receive from the “Voter Lookup” tool.

Noteworthy Feature: Across the top of every page, North Carolina innovatively displays a line showing current voter registration totals in the state, broken down by political party. This set of statistics often is difficult to find on state election websites.

Initial Quick Fix: Consolidate information for military and overseas voters into one page, rather than featuring some on the military voters' page and some on the absentee voting page.

Summary: North Carolina offers all five recommended lookup tools. The website has a clean design and is easy to navigate, earning an above-average score for usability.

www.ncsbe.gov was assessed for content and lookup tools.

www.sboe.state.nc.us was assessed for usability.