Election Websites: Georgia

Election Websites: Georgia

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GA 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 full section of information for voters with disabilities.
  • 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.
  • Extensive information on voter registration including eligibility and residency requirements, deadlines, forms, and information for students, the homeless, felons, and residents of long-term-care facilities.
  • Lookup tools that allow voters to view their registration status, polling place location, sample ballots, and absentee ballot status.
  • Comprehensive lists of candidates, party affiliations, contact information, and incumbency status.
  • Ballot measure information including full texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses.
  • A Google search returns the website as the first result when searching for “register to vote in Georgia” and “polling places in Georgia.”

Recommended improvements include:

  • Allow access to the polling place lookup tool by street address, instead of personal voter record information (27 states offer).
  • On the home page, group together key information for voters and distinguish it from that for candidates or the media. Also use fewer graphics; navigation is a challenge for visually disabled people whose screen-reading software would not register images, and for people who might ignore the sidebar navigation, thinking it is advertising.
  • Present important information in HTML format rather than in PDF documents, which are more difficult to read and search online.
  • Improve accessibility for users with visual disabilities, including scalable fonts, which allow them to easily change the size of text on a website; text as an alternative to graphics for those who cannot see images; links that change color once visited; and “skip navigation links,” which jump to the main content on a page for people using screen-reading software.
  • Offer a lookup tool for voters to check their provisional ballot status (19 states offer).
  • Use a secure server for sensitive personal information required in the lookup tools (35 states offer).
  • Provide information in languages other than English (37 states offer).
  • Place a search website function on every page in a prominent location and not solely in the footer.

Noteworthy Feature: Comprehensive section that explains the confidentiality protections provided by the Georgia VoteSafe Program, with FAQs, an explanation of the application process, and links to required forms.

Initial Quick Fix: Provide information about voting by residents of long-term-care facilities in the section designed for voters with disabilities, rather than in a PDF intended for election administrators.

Summary: Georgia provides a wealth of voting information, including four out of five recommended lookup tools in an easy-to-access format, but its overall score is reduced by the usability of its website.

www.sos.georgia.gov was assessed for content and lookup tools.

www.sos.georgia.gov/Elections was assessed for usability.