Election Websites: Washington

Election Websites: Washington

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WA 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:

  • Statements from local, state, and federal candidates, including occupations and candidate photographs, accessible through a directory or personalized lookup tool.
  • Complete information about statewide ballot measures, including full texts, summaries, and nonpartisan analyses.
  • Extensive archived candidate and ballot-measure resources.
  • Multipurpose “MyVote” lookup tool allows users to view their ballot drop site, sample ballot, and status of their registration.
  • Well-organized home page organizes information and links by audience so voters can easily find content they need.

Recommended improvements include:

  • Provide information for military and overseas voters about how to obtain and complete a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (30 states offer), when to re-register (22 offer), and when to renew absentee ballot requests (31 offer).
  • Provide instructions on how to cast a ballot (38 states offer).
  • Note whether voters may receive assistance with marking their mail-in and absentee ballots (18 states offer).
  • Post the hours for the election office (32 states offer) and a fax number (46 offer).
  • Provide lookup tools for voters to view the status of their absentee ballot (29 states offer) and provisional ballot (19 offer).
  • Allow access to the lookup tool for ballot drop sites by street address, instead of personal voter record information (27 states offer).

Noteworthy Feature: Washington translates many of its site resources into seven languages. The online voter registration system is operable in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Initial Quick Fix: Add to the directory of local election officials' office hours (14 states offer) and county auditor names (43 offer). 

Summary: Washington's state election website contains many innovative resources and scores well in all three main categories, including offering three out of five recommended lookup tools.

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

www.sos.wa.gov/elections/Default.aspx was assessed for usability.