Election Websites: New Hampshire

Election Websites: New Hampshire

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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:

  • A comprehensive section of information for military and overseas voters—one of the best in the nation—that includes details about the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.
  • Extensive information about how to register to vote and comply with state residency requirements, including guidance for college students, the homeless, hospitalized voters, and residents of long-term-care facilities.
  • Lookup tools that allow users to find out their registration status, polling place location, and status of absentee ballots.
  • Scalable fonts that allow users with visual disabilities to easily resize text on the site.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide a voter registration form (48 states offer).
  • Offer information about ballot measures (43 states offer), such as full texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses.
  • Allow access to the polling place lookup tool by street address, instead of personal voter record information (27 states offer).
  • Offer candidate information such as e-mail (19 states offer), website (20 offer), and phone (23 offer) contacts; candidate statements (6 offer); and occupations (6 offer).
  • List the application deadline for absentee ballots (40 states offer) and provide information about how to replace one that is lost or damaged, or was never received (18 offer).
  • Offer a lookup tool to view a sample ballot (22 states offer).
  • Provide a navigation system that can help users find information they need and determine where they are on the site.
  • On the home page, organize links by topic and audience so that content is easier to skim, and provide prominent links to important information.
  • Organize information logically, so that users do not have to jump around the site or visit multiple pages to find related content.
  • Present important information in HTML rather than PDF documents, which are more difficult to read and search online.
  • Offer a site search function.

Noteworthy Feature: New Hampshire's site includes a helpful “How to Vote” video that summarizes the electoral process, including a brief discussion of citizens' rights and responsibilities, and procedures for registering and casting a ballot.

Initial Quick Fix: Make key web resources, such as the Military and Overseas Voters FAQ, more accessible by featuring them in HTML in addition to PDF.

Summary: Despite some useful site features, New Hampshire has low scores in content and usability. The site offers three out of four recommended lookup tools that apply to voters in the state. (There is no provisional balloting in New Hampshire, and therefore no need for a provisional ballot lookup tool.)

http://sos.nh.gov/Elections.aspx was assessed for content, lookup tools, and usability.