We recently took stock of each state's official voter information page in an effort to find out what states are doing to increase voter participation. While every state site offers some information to voters, there are huge disparities in the content and quality of that information. Some sites offer conveniences like online voter registration and the ability to track your absentee ballot, while others have no online tools whatsoever.
Many states have created a voter information site independent of the official state government page. Sites like AlabamaVotes.gov, VoteNaturally.org (Arkansas), VoteKS.org, GeauxVote.com (Louisiana), Vote Missouri, VotesPA.com, SCvotes.org, VoTexas.org, and Vote.Utah.gov provide user-friendly information, including tools to check personal voting information. These dedicated voter information sites help increase accessibility, and allow voters to track important information throughout the voting process. For example, a voter in Utah can register to vote, check their registration, find their polling place, learn about upcoming elections, and request and track their absentee ballot--everything but cast an actual vote--through the state's voter portal.
A growing number of states also offer online voter registration, including Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Having the option to register online is particularly crucial for an increasingly mobile and technology-dependent generation.
Unfortunately a few states are still struggling to integrate recent technology into their websites. For example, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming don't offer a portal for personalized voter information (like a voter registration search or polling place look-up tool). This is problematic because many voters depend on state websites, often because of the challenges they have in contacting their local election official simply to check their registration status or find their polling place. Making this personalized information available online increases transparency and can boost voter turnout. And best of all, voters can avoid unnecessary problems at the polls by finding out if there is an issue with their registration prior to Election Day.
Learn more about registering to vote and stay tuned as we share our Top 5 State Voter Information Websites later this week!
This post was researched and written by Nonprofit VOTE's Spring 2011 intern, Hattie Huston.