Election Websites: Wisconsin

Election Websites: Wisconsin

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WI BONE2                           

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:

  • Easy-to-use, all-in-one lookup tool that allows voters to find their polling place based on street address; view a sample ballot; check their registration, status of absentee ballots, and provisional ballots; and view a personalized list of elected officials.
  • Complete information about registering to vote, including eligibility, residency, forms and deadlines, public access to records, and instructions for updating and confirming registration.
  • Registration resources for people in special circumstances, including those who are hospitalized, homeless, college students, felons, members of the military, those living overseas, and residents of long-term-care facilities.
  • Detailed contact information for state and local election offices.
  • A home page that is easy to scan and makes it simple for voters to find information specifically for them.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide basic information on statewide ballot measures (43 states offer).
  • Post a privacy policy for the website (42 states offer) and explain data-collection practices and the measures the state takes to protect the privacy of users' personal information (40 offer).
  • Offer 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).
  • Note the hours of operation for local election offices (14 states offer).
  • Provide prominent placement of links to voter registration resources (currently accessible only in a section of the site for election clerks).
  • Improve navigation by making it more visible, instead of relying on users to roll over the navigation bar so that more links will drop down.
  • Make text more concise and easier to scan and understand by using bullets and writing at the eighth-grade level.

Noteworthy Feature: The website features complete and nicely laid out directories of Wisconsin's county and municipal election clerks, including the names and e-mail addresses of clerks and deputy clerks, plus the offices' street address, fax, phone, and links to each agency's website.

Initial Quick Fix: Relocate critical information about absentee voting from the FAQ page to the Absentee Ballot page, where users are more likely to look for it.

Summary: Wisconsin's state election website earns a high score, and offers all five recommended lookup tools and strong content.

http://gab.wi.gov was assessed for content and lookup tools.

http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting was assessed for usability.