Election Websites: Missouri

Election Websites: Missouri

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MO 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:

  • Well-designed website, with easy-to-scan homepage that prominently features important information and tools for voters.
  • Lookup tools that allow voters to view their registration status, polling place location, and sample ballots.
  • Polling place locator based on street address, allowing users to access this information regardless of registration status.
  • Absentee voting information, including eligibility, applications, and deadlines to apply for and return absentee ballots.
  • A section for military and overseas voters about how to register and details about the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.
  • Concise, easy-to-scan text throughout the website, using bullet points and hyperlinks.
  • Strong accessibility for people with visual disabilities using scalable fonts to allow users to easily change the size of text on the website; text as an alternative to graphics for those who cannot see images; and high contrast between text and background colors.
  • Information organized logically, so that users do not have to jump around the site or visit multiple pages to find related content.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Offer lookup tools that allow voters to view their status of absentee ballots (29 states offer) and provisional ballots (19 offer).
  • Provide information for those who are homeless (35 states offer) or are hospitalized (27 offer), or for residents of long-term-care facilities (25 offer).
  • Create a section geared toward people with disabilities (36 states offer) that provides instruction on using special voting machines in polling places (33 offer).
  • Explain how to obtain a replacement for an absentee ballot that does not arrive in the mail (19 states offer), or is lost or damaged (18 offer).
  • Provide information on whether absentee voters can get help with marking ballots (18 states offer).
  • Explain circumstances requiring military and overseas voters to re-register (22 states offer) or renew their requests for absentee ballots (31 states offer).
  • Offer information in languages other than English (37 states offer).
  • Present nonpartisan analyses of ballot measures (24 states offer).
  • Add a site search function and place it consistently on every page.

Noteworthy Feature: Interactive Election Night Maps are updated every two minutes with voter turnout, precincts reporting, and returns for state, federal, and ballot-measure races. Visitors can also link to a page that provides the same information in a tabular display. 

Initial Quick Fix: Link to the Federal Election Commission database of campaign finance data for federal candidates (37 states offer).

Summary: Missouri's website scores well overall, but its high usability score is offset by a low score on voting information. Users have access to only three out of five recommended lookup tools for voting information.

www.sos.mo.gov/elections was assessed for content and lookup tools.

www.GoVoteMissouri.com was assessed for usability.