Election Websites: Ohio

Election Websites: Ohio

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OH 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:

  • Instructional videos in various formats demonstrating the types of voting equipment used throughout the state.
  • Current and archived election results displayed in percentages, by counties, and by precincts.
  • Comprehensive resource section for voters with disabilities.
  • Complete information for military and overseas voters about how to register, request absentee ballots, and obtain and use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.
  • Simple voter registration lookup tool.
  • Polling place locator accessible by street address that includes maps, directions, and the estimated time it would take to travel from the voter's home to the polling location.
  • A Google search returns the website as the first result when searching for “register to vote in Ohio” and “polling places in Ohio.”

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide a way for military voters to check the status of their absentee ballots (33 states offer).
  • Furnish candidate information such as phone numbers (23 states offer), e-mail addresses (19 offer), websites (20 offer), candidate statements (6 offer), and occupations (6 offer).
  • Provide archived lists of candidates from past elections (31 states offer).
  • Present a list of official state political parties (38 offer) and contact information, or links to party websites (32 states offer).
  • Provide job descriptions for elective offices (5 states offer).
  • Offer lookup tools for voters to learn the status of their absentee ballot (29 states offer), sample ballot (22 offer), or provisional ballot (19 offer).
  • Implement navigation that is logical and consistent on each page.
  • Reduce redundancy of site content.
  • Use easy-to-scan text that is concise, with bullet points and hyperlinks.

Noteworthy Feature: An interactive, mini-version of the state's election calendar appears on nearly every page of the website, reminding voters of upcoming important dates and deadlines.

Initial Quick Fix: Ohio could improve the security of voters' sensitive personal information by transitioning the lookup tool for voter registration status to a secure server (35 states offer).

Summary: Ohio's website is above average in terms of content. The state offers just two out of five recommended lookup tools, however, lowering its overall score.

www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections.aspx was assessed for content and lookup tools.

www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/voter.aspx was assessed for usability.