County election website evaluations

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Election website evaluations
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Arizona evaluation
California evaluation
Colorado evaluation
Florida evaluation
Illinois evaluation
Michigan evaluation
Missouri evaluation
Ohio evaluation
Oregon evaluation
Washington evaluation
Wisconsin evaluation
Statewide election information is available online on all state government websites. In most cases, the media also provides additional resources, such as real-time vote results, for statewide elections. The same cannot be said for election data at the local level, specifically countywide.

In December 2011 - March 2012 Ballotpedia took a closer look at the type of election information available on county websites.

As part of Ballotpedia's local coverage, local ballot measure information in 11 states are tracked throughout the year. These states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

Each of the 11 states' counties, a total of 738, were evaluated on seven pieces of criteria: whether the county had an election website, the availability of current election information, ballot text availability, if an issues list existed, if election results were updated within a reasonable amount of time following the election, the availability of a ballot measure archive and the ease of navigation.

The charts below summarize the results of the county evaluation project. However, click on the state links below to view how each individual county scored.

ArizonaCaliforniaColoradoFloridaIllinoisMichiganMissouriOhioOregonWashingtonWisconsin

Methodology

Below is a brief description of the seven criteria used in this county evaluation project.

For more detailed information on the methodology and project see: County election evaluations project.

The seven items checked for on each county site were as follows:

  1. An election website: Does the county have a website that displays election information? (yes or no)
  2. Current election information: Does the county website reflect information about the most current election? (yes or no)
  3. Ballot text availability: Is the exact ballot measure text or question available on the county website? (yes or no)
  4. Issues list: Does the county provide a list of all of the measures that will appear on the ballot? (yes or no)
  5. Updated results: Does the county site post election results the day after the election, or within a few days of the most recent election? (yes or no)
  6. Ballot measure archive: Does the county website display past election results or information? (yes or no)
  7. Ease of navigation: How easy was the site to navigate and find election-related information? This particular criteria was evaluated on a scale of 1-5. (described in detail below)

Total results

The chart below summarizes how each of the state's performed in the county election evaluation.

Note:

Legend


      Ranked the highest in the category       Ranked the lowest in the category


State # of counties Election website Current election info Ballot text Issues list Updated results Ballot measure archive
Arizona 15 86% 87% 33% 0% 100% 100%
California 58 98% 88% 88% 7% 96% 91%
Colorado 64 56% 57% 42% 3% 59% 45%
Florida 67 94% 98% 82% 0% 100% 94%
Illinois 102 56% 43% 34% 5% 69% 38%
Michigan 83 63% 64% 48% 27% 77% 60%
Missouri 114 35% 27% 21% 7% 33% 22%
Ohio 88 96% 96% 56% 88% 93% 81%
Oregon 36 69% 69% 58% 36% 72% 72%
Washington 39 100% 100% 95% 0% 100% 97%
Wisconsin 72 50% 43% 25% 1% 55% 51%

County Summaries

Election website

Does the county have a website that displays election information? (yes or no)

The table below provides a summary of each state's counties and the availability of a website for local election information. Of the 738 counties checked, 505 (68%) had election information available on their local websites.

  • 100% of the counties in the State of Washington had readily available election information online.
  • California came in second with 98%.
  • In last was the state of Missouri, 40 of the 114 counties (35%) had local websites with election information.

Legend


      90% or more of counties have election websites       50% or less of counties have election wesbites

Link to state's eval # of counties # of counties w/ election website  % of counties w/ election website
Arizona 15 13 86%
California 58 57 98%
Colorado 64 36 56%
Florida 67 63 94%
Illinois 102 58 56%
Michigan 83 53 63%
Missouri 114 40 35%
Ohio 88 85 96%
Oregon 36 25 69%
Washington 39 39 100%
Wisconsin 72 36 50%

Current info

Legend


      90% or more of counties have current local ballot measure information       50% or less of counties have current local ballot measure information

Does the county website reflect information about the most current election? (yes or no)

The table below summarizes the number of counties that provide current election result information.

  • Of Washington State's 39 counties, all 39 (100%) featured current election result information. It was the only state to feature a 100% score.
  • Florida came in second with 98% of its counties featuring current information, while Ohio came in 3rd with 96%.
  • In last was Missouri with 27% or 31 of 114 counties.

Note: At the time of the study, the next CA election was June 2012, therefore not all of the counties had current information available but most will likely have it closer to the election date. This is based on past practices.

State # of counties Counties w/ current info (#) Counties w/ current info (%)
Arizona 15 13 87%
California 58 51[1] 88%
Colorado 64 37 57%
Florida 67 66 98%
Illinois 102 44 43%
Michigan 83 53 64%
Missouri 114 31 27%
Ohio 88 85 96%
Oregon 36 25 69%
Washington 39 39 100%
Wisconsin 72 31 43%

Ballot text

Legend


      90% or more of counties have local ballot text       50% or less of counties have local ballot text

Is the exact ballot measure text or question available on the county website? (yes or no)

The table below summarizes the number of counties that make available the exact ballot measure text or question that appears on local ballots.

  • Only 1 state had 90% or more of its counties feature ballot text - Washington
  • 2 states had 30% or less of its counties feature ballot text - Missouri (21%) and Wisconsin (25%)

Note: At the time of the study the next election for CA residents is in June 2012, therefore most counties had no ballot text up but would likely have that information closer to the election date. This is based on past practices.

State # of counties Counties w/ ballot text (#) Counties w/ ballot text (%)
Arizona 15 5 33%
California 58 7[2] 88%
Colorado 64 27 42%
Florida 67 55 82%
Illinois 102 35 34%
Michigan 83 40 48%
Missouri 114 24 21%
Ohio 88 49 56%
Oregon 36 21 58%
Washington 39 37 95%
Wisconsin 72 18 25%

Issues list

Legend


      90% or more of counties have issues list       50% or less of counties have issues list

Does the county provide a list of all of the measures that will appear on the ballot? (yes or no)

This table provides an overview of whether the counties in each of the 11 states featured an "issues list" or "overview list" of all the local measures scheduled to appear on future ballots.

  • Of the 738 total counties, 132 had this election feature.
  • 3 states did not offer an issues list: Arizona, Florida and Washington
State # of counties Counties w/ issues list (#) Percentage
Arizona 15 0 0%
California 58 4 7%
Colorado 64 2 3%
Florida 67 0 0%
Illinois 102 5 5%
Michigan 83 22 27%
Missouri 114 8 7%
Ohio 88 77 88%
Oregon 36 13 36%
Washington 39 0 0%
Wisconsin 72 1 1%

Updated results

Legend


      90% or more of counties have updated election results       50% or less of counties have updated election results

Does the county site post election results the day after the election, or within a few days of the most recent election? (yes or no)

The chart below features the number of counties that updated election results the day of on an election or within a few days of the most recent elections.

  • Of the 738 counties researched, 121 counties featured updated results.
    • Arizona, Florida and Washington tied for first with 100% of their counties featuring updated results.
  • California came in second with 96% and Ohio in third with 93%.
  • The only state to score under 50% was Missouri. 38 of 114 counties (33%) featured updated results within a few days following recent elections.
State # of counties Counties w/ updated results (#) Percentage
Arizona 15 15 100%
California 58 56 96%
Colorado 64 38 59%
Florida 67 67 100%
Illinois 102 71 69%
Michigan 83 64 77%
Missouri 114 38 33%
Ohio 88 82 93%
Oregon 36 26 72%
Washington 39 39 100%
Wisconsin 72 47 65%

Archives

Legend


      90% or more of counties have election archives       50% or less of counties have election archives

Does the county website display past election results or information? (yes or no)

The chart below highlights the number of counties that post historical election information. Additionally, the chart notes the county with the longest archival history.

  • In 4 states, 90% or more of their counties had archival information available online. Those states included Arizona (100%), California (91%), Florida (94%) and Washington (97%).
  • The county with the longest archival history was Benton County in Oregon. The county has election information as far back as 1852.
  • In 3 states, 50% or less of their counties had archival information: Colorado (45%), Illinois (38%) and Missouri (22%).
State # of counties Counties w/ archives (#) Percentage Archival history
Arizona 15 15 100% 1994-Present (Yuma County)
California 58 53 91% 1970-Present (Shasta County)
Colorado 64 29 45% 1961-Present (Broomfield County)
Florida 67 63 94% 1960-Present (St. Lucie County)
Illinois 102 39 38% 1968-Present (Champaign County)
Michigan 83 50 60% 1996-Present (Calhoun County)
Missouri 114 25 22% 1996-Present (St. Louis County)
Ohio 88 72 81% 1986-Present (Lucas County)
Oregon 36 26 72% 1852-Present (Benton County)
Washington 39 38 97% 1974-Present (Klickitat County)
Wisconsin 72 37 51% 1984-Present (Brown County)

Ease of navigation

How easy was the site to navigate and find election-related information? This particular criteria was evaluated on a scale of 1-5. (described in detail below)

The chart below features the number of counties that scored anywhere from 0-5 on navigability of their election websites.

  • 39% of the 738 counties scored a "4," meaning that current election information was easy to navigate and readily available, as were current results. However, the site may have been lacking archives of past elections.
  • Only 39 counties scored a "5," meaning they were identified as having nearly perfect sites.
    • 23 counties were in Washington State
    • 7 counties in California
    • 3 counties each in Colorado and Florida
    • 1 county each in Illinois, Ohio and Oregon
State # of counties Counties w/ score of 0 Score of 1 Score of 2 Score of 3 Score of 4 Score of 5
Arizona 15 0 0 0 9 6 0
California 58 0 1 1 10 39 7
Colorado 64 10 11 6 16 18 3
Florida 67 0 0 0 13 51 3
Illinois 102 45 0 1 32 23 1
Michigan 83 11 3 14 24 31 0
Missouri 114 73 2 6 16 17 0
Ohio 88 0 0 4 23 60 1
Oregon 36 2 4 2 9 18 1
Washington 39 0 0 0 1 15 23
Wisconsin 72 2 10 9 38 13 0
Total 738 counties 143 (19.4%) 31 (4.2%) 43 (5.8%) 191 (25.9%) 291 (39.4%) 39 (5.3%)

"Ease of navigation" in detail:

The ease of navigating a particular county's election website was based on a scale from 1-5, "1" being the worst, but still having a election site, and "5" being the best. A "0" was assigned to those counties that did not have an election website.

  1. The bare minimum: Site only has basic voting information, no recent election information or election results.
  2. Fair but only slightly better: Site may have current information but it is hard to find, election information not found through links which other website's have posted, site also may have old election information which has not been updated, no results posted or archives.
  3. Good but could improve: Has current information but harder to navigate site or find information, takes more than 4 clicks through links to find information, may not update information as quickly or have sample ballots.
  4. Very good information: Current election information available as are current results, may be lacking archives.
  5. The perfect site: Aesthetically pleasing site, easy to find current election information, archived results, sample ballots and other pertinent election information.

See also

By Johanna Herman
Local measure writer

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EmailSubmit a link

References

  1. At the time of the study, the next CA election was June 2012, therefore not all of the counties had current information available but most will likely have it closer to the election date. This is based on past practices.
  2. At the time of the study the next election for CA residents is in June 2012, therefore most counties had no ballot text up but would likely have that information closer to the election date. This is based on past practices.