Election Websites: Oregon

Election Websites: Oregon

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OR 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:

  • Detailed information about how to cast a ballot, including hours for ballot drop sites and an FAQ on the vote-by-mail process.
  • Multi-purpose “My Vote” lookup tool that allows users to find out their registration status, absentee ballot status, and ballot drop site is accessible directly from the home page.
  • Voting information available in languages other than English.
  • Comprehensive voting information for those with disabilities.
  • Candidate statements, including occupation.
  • Current and archived election results.
  • Voter content written below the eighth-grade level, making important information understandable to low-literacy users.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide more information about absentee voting, including a form or instructions for applying for an absentee ballot (45 states offer) and application deadlines (40 offer).
  • Provide lookup tools for voters to view a sample ballot (22 states offer) and the status of their provisional ballot (19 offer).
  • Provide information for military voters about how to register to vote (42 states offer), how to check the status of their voted ballots (33 offer), when to renew a request for an absentee ballot (31 offer), and how to obtain and complete the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot if a regular ballot is not received in time to vote (30 offer).
  • List fax numbers for local election officials (47 states offer).
  • Offer a website search function consistently on all pages.
  • Reduce content redundancy and group together related information.

Noteworthy Feature: Oregon's website includes an MP3 Audio Voters' Guide that serves sight-impaired voters and any others who would prefer to listen to the guide rather than read it.

Initial Quick Fix: The website contains at least five pages in different sections featuring basic voter registration information. Important material is included on some of these pages, but not on others. Oregon could reduce confusion and improve the browsing experience by streamlining and consolidating this duplicative information.

Summary: Although Oregon scores near average in lookup tools and usability, its performance in the content category brings down the overall score. The state offers three of five recommended lookup tools.

www.sos.state.or.us/elections/ was assessed for content, lookup tools, and usability.