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Sunshine Review:My Government Website

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The "My Government Website" ProjectMgw1.png

The My Government Website project evaluates the information governments post on their websites at the statewide, county, city and school district level. We evaluate websites based on Sunshine Review's transparency checklist, which checks for basic information such as meeting minutes, budgets, audits, and how to contact elected officials.

County evaluations completed

This project was recently completed evaluations for all 3,140 counties in the U.S.. Below are the 10 states with most transparent county governments; Arizona ranks highest at 65 percent. The scores reveal that all our communities need more transparency.

Rank State Budget Meetings Elected officials (Sunshine Review) Admin. Officials Permits
Audits Contracts Lobbying Public records Taxes Overall transparency
1 Arizona counties 87% 100% 93% 86% 80% 54% 14% 0% 47% 94% 65.5%
2 California counties 86% 100% 86% 36% 83% 76% 57% 3.5% 40% 76% 64.35
3 Florida counties 71% 91% 85% 69% 76% 49% 34% 1.4% 4.4% 82% 56.28%
4 Washington counties 64% 79% 69% 90% 79% 41% 0% 0% 59% 69% 55%
5 Maryland counties 88% 88% 83% 92% 79% 29% 12.5% 0% 25% 29% 52.55%
6 New York counties 82% 87% 93% 98% 18% 32% 5% 0% 44% 50% 50.9%
7 Virginia counties 46% 51% 81% 81% 77% 53% 10% 14% 9% 70% 49.2%
8 New Jersey counties 81% 86% 76% 95% 0% 14% 0% 0% 76% 48% 47.6%
9 North Carolina counties 62% 84% 79% 78% 51% 55% 0% 0% 1% 44% 45.4%
10 Wisconsin counties 59% 76% 90% 88% 68% 26% 4% 0% 7% 10% 42.8%
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The League of Transparency Advocates bands together citizens, politicians, bloggers, reporters, and organizations who are state sunshine transparency advocates.

Sunshine Review (Sunshine Review) and advocates believe in the posting transparency checklist items online in order to allow for more informed citizens in the Web 2.0 era, especially in regards to how local government conduct themselves.

Latest members

MGW Progress reports

Below is a chart of our progress on the My Government Website project. Starter articles have little information on them and still need to be ranked according to the transparency checklist. Check out the "Get involved" tab in order to learn more.

Started Ranked Total
County website project 0 3,140 3,140
City website project 810 821 Indefinite
School district website project 4,233 642 13,000

Ridiculous postings

Sometimes here at SR, we're astonished at what local websites take time to post while leaving the transparency checklist items behind. A few we have spotted include:

Perfect scores!

Also check out local government website's that received a Perfect score!

  1. Carbondale, Illinois
  2. Harris County, Texas
  3. Clay County, Missouri
  4. Anderson County, South Carolina
  5. Cobb County, Georgia
  6. Washington state website
  7. Los Angeles County, California (Sunshine Review)
  8. Tulsa County, Oklahoma

Project vision

The goal of the My Government Website project is to produce evaluations of the websites of every city, county, school district and state agency in all fifty states. There are four subprojects:

Current project

Contributors at Sunshine Review (Sunshine Review) are working to standardize all the county articles so they could have that nice, polished look. A few things you can do is:

TOC nest right template

This template is typed as {{TOCnestright (Sunshine Review)}}

It is added at the beginning of an article. It should be added to:

  • Every individual county article (all 3,140 of them).
  • Every article about a state's counties (all 50 of these articles).

"Official website"

The standard way to link to a county's official website in an "external links" section on Sunshine Review is like this:

In other words, the description should refer to "official website" as opposed to just "website" or "Shelby County".

Follow progress of these project here

How do I evaluate a website?

The basic idea is to review the website of a city, county or school district you're interested in to see if it includes the basic information you need to be an informed citizen. You can compare what you find on a particular website to this Transparency Checklist or to the more specific ideas shared here about what should be on city websites, what should be on county websites and what should be on school district websites.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what information you'd like to be able to find on any particular government website, so if those checklists don't cover everything you'd like to see covered, please expand them. Read more on how to evaluate government websites.