Election Websites: North Dakota

Election Websites: North Dakota

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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:

  • Complete information about statewide ballot measures, including full texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses.
  • A comprehensive listing of state and federal candidates' phone numbers, street addresses, e-mail addresses and websites.
  • Lookup tools that allow voters to check their absentee ballot status, view a sample ballot, and find their polling place.
  • Polling place locator based on street address, allowing users to find this information regardless of registration status.
  • Strong features that make the website accessible to voters with disabilities, including scalable fonts to allow users to easily change the website's text size; text as an alternative to graphics for those who cannot see images; and “skip navigation links” that jump to the main content on a page for people using screen-reading software.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide information for military and overseas voters about how to obtain and use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (39 states offer), list the circumstances under which military voters must renew requests for an absentee ballot (31 offer), and provide a way to check its status (33 offer).
  • Explain whether voting records are considered public information (30 states offer).
  • Provide voting-process information for those who are hospitalized (27 states offer) or reside in long-term-care facilities (25 offer).
  • Create clear links from the home page to pages with important information for voters.
  • Provide better navigation throughout the site, so site users do not have to continually return to the homepage to find other content.

Noteworthy Feature: North Dakota's online election results are displayed through interactive maps and a “My Tracked Contests” feature that lets site visitors follow results of selected contests. The website also offers a quick, clear visual representation of statewide voter turnout.

Initial Quick Fix: Add job descriptions detailing the qualifications and terms of office for all elected positions in North Dakota (5 states offer).

Summary: North Dakota's website has an average score in the content category, a weak usability performance, and a perfect score for the three lookup tools that apply to its voters.

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

www.nd.gov/sos/electvote was assessed for usability.