Election Websites: Colorado

Election Websites: Colorado

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CO 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:

  • A comprehensive section of information for military and overseas voters—one of the best in the nation—that includes details about how to register, how to obtain and complete the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, and how to check the status of a voted ballot.
  • Lookup tools that allow voters to view their registration status, polling place location, and status of absentee and provisional ballots.
  • Easy-to-skim home page, with logical organization of links according to relevant topics.
  • Map showing each county and whether it conducts elections at a polling place, completely by mail, and/or at early voting centers.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Improve navigation by including links presented on the home page, highlight the section that users are in, and add “breadcrumbs” to help them determine where they are on the website.
  • Use concise, easy-to-scan text, bullet points and hyperlinks, and make content understandable for low-literacy users by writing at the eighth-grade level or lower.
  • Present important information in HTML rather than PDF documents, which are more difficult to read and search online.
  • Offer a sample ballot lookup tool (22 states offer).
  • Provide a tutorial on how to complete a ballot (38 states offer).
  • Provide more information for people with disabilities, including instructions on how to use accessible voting equipment to cast a ballot (33 states offer), and the availability of TDD or TTY access (33 offer).
  • Offer voting information for hospitalized voters (27 states offer) and residents of long-term-care facilities (25 offer).
  • Offer candidate information, including e-mail (19 states offer), website (20 offer), and telephone (23 offer) contacts; incumbency status (9 offer); statements (6 offer); and occupation (6 offer).
  • Create a consistent location for the website search function on every page and make search results clearer and easier to understand.
  • Offer a dedicated hotline/helpline to the state election office (30 states offer).
  • Provide Web addresses or links to local election officials (34 states offer).

Noteworthy Feature: Colorado's website provides useful information for specific groups in its FAQs, such as the “Homeless Voter FAQ” and the “Voting and Convictions FAQ.”

Initial Quick Fix: Add an overview of important dates for upcoming elections, including registration and absentee voter deadlines (47 states offer).

Summary: Colorado provides above-average voting information content, including four out of five recommended lookup tools, but it is below average in terms of site usability, resulting in a lower overall score.

http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/main.html was assessed for content, lookup tools, and usability.