Election Websites: Kentucky

Election Websites: Kentucky

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KY 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.
  • A Google search returns the Board of Elections website as the first result when searching for “register to vote in Kentucky” and “polling places in Kentucky.”
  • Accessibility for people with visual disabilities on the Board of Elections website. That includes scalable fonts, which allow users to easily change the size of text on a website; text as an alternative to graphics for users who cannot see images on a site; and high contrast between text and background colors.
  • Search website function on every page in a consistent location.
  • Voter registration information including eligibility and residency requirements, forms and deadlines, with content for students, the homeless, felons, and hospitalized voters.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide lookup tools that allow voters to view their sample ballots (22 states offer) and absentee ballot status (29 offer).
  • Allow access to the polling place lookup tool by street address, instead of personal voter record information (27 states offer).
  • Offer a section of information geared toward people with disabilities (36 states offer) that provides instruction on how to use special voting machines in polling places (33 offer) and indicate whether assistance by poll workers is available (46 offer).
  • Provide a request form for an absentee ballot (45 states offer) and explain how to obtain a replacement if an absentee ballot is lost or damaged (18 offer).
  • Offer ballot measure information including full texts (34 states offer), summaries (39 offer), and nonpartisan analyses (24 offer).
  • Archive candidate information from past elections (31 states offer).
  • List early voting dates (33 states offer) and hours of operation (28 states offer).
  • Provide a tutorial on how to complete a ballot (38 states offer).

Noteworthy Feature: The secretary of state provides election calendars through 2013 and a schedule showing which offices will be on the ballot through 2023.

Initial Quick Fix: Make clear to users that the websites of the secretary of state and the Board of Elections are complementary, and instruct users to visit both websites for content that might appear unavailable on one.

Summary: Kentucky's websites score well for providing above-average voting information for users in a very accessible manner. Users have access to three out of five recommended voting information tools.

www.elect.ky.gov and www.sos.ky.gov were assessed for content and lookup tools.

http://elect.ky.gov/default.htm was assessed for usability.