Election Websites: Texas

Election Websites: Texas

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TX 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:

  • Complete information for military voters, including how to register, renew absentee ballot requests, check whether a voted ballot has been received, and use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.
  • Extensive voter registration section, including eligibility and residency requirements, deadlines, a registration form and instructions for completing and returning it, and how to confirm and update a registration record.
  • Registration information for those who are hospitalized, felons, college students, the homeless, residents of long-term-care facilities, or voters who are overseas.
  • Comprehensive section for people with disabilities, including TTY access and instructions for how to use voting equipment and receive assistance at the polls.
  • Well-designed election calendar including local and state election dates and deadlines.
  • Complete election results posted within 24 hours and displayed as percentages and by county, plus an archive of past results.
  • Two-in-one lookup tool allows voters to check their registration status and find their polling place.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Allow access to the polling place lookup tool by street address, instead of personal voter record information (27 states offer).
  • Offer candidate information including e-mail addresses (19 states offer), websites (20 offer), and candidate statements (6 offer).
  • Provide archived candidate information from past elections (31 states offer).
  • Offer local election officials' e-mail addresses (42 states offer), hours of business (14 offer), and website links (34 offer).
  • Allow all voters to use the lookup tool for absentee ballot status, instead of only military voters (29 states offer).
  • Provide lookup tools for voters to view a sample ballot (22 states offer) and status of a provisional ballot (19 offer).
  • On the “Votexas” website, make text more concise and offer text links to direct users to important voting information, rather than button graphics that do not look like navigation. Also use prime space on the homepage to highlight voter content instead of posting a welcome message.

Noteworthy Feature: A picture of a sample voter registration certificate helps ensure that people bring the right document to the polls, a state requirement.

Initial Quick Fix: Build a link from the military and overseas voters' page to the lookup tool for registration status (33 states offer).

Summary: Texas scores well on content and usability, but offers just two out of five recommended lookup tools.

www.votexas.org and www.sos.state.tx.us were assessed for content and lookup tools.

www.votexas.org was assessed for usability.