County election website evaluations
|Election website evaluations|
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.
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:
- An election website: Does the county have a website that displays election information? (yes or no)
- Current election information: Does the county website reflect information about the most current election? (yes or no)
- Ballot text availability: Is the exact ballot measure text or question available on the county website? (yes or no)
- Issues list: Does the county provide a list of all of the measures that will appear on the ballot? (yes or no)
- 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)
- Ballot measure archive: Does the county website display past election results or information? (yes or no)
- 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 summarizes how each of the state's performed in the county election evaluation.
- Ease of navigation was not included in the total summary chart below. Please click on this link for those results.
- At the time of the study, the next California election was June 2012, therefore not all of the counties had current information & ballot text available but most will likely have it closer to the election date. This is based on past practices.
|State||# of counties||Election website||Current election info||Ballot text||Issues list||Updated results||Ballot measure archive|
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.
|Link to state's eval||# of counties||# of counties w/ election website||% of counties w/ election website|
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 (%)|
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 (%)|
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|
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|
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)|
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|
|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.
- The bare minimum: Site only has basic voting information, no recent election information or election results.
- 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.
- 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.
- Very good information: Current election information available as are current results, may be lacking archives.
- The perfect site: Aesthetically pleasing site, easy to find current election information, archived results, sample ballots and other pertinent election information.
| By Johanna Herman|
Local measure writer
|Email • Submit a link|
- Ballotpedia:WikiProject Local Ballot Measures/County election evaluations
- Ballotpedia:WikiProject Local Ballot Measures
- Local ballot measure elections in 2012 (2010, 2011)
- Highs and lows revealed in review of local election websites across the country
- 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.
- 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.