EAC Issues Best Practices for Voter Information Web Sites
Posted on November 24, 2008
WASHINGTON- The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has issued a collection of best practices for election officials about creating an effective voter information Web site. This how-to guide provides advice on a range of issues, from delivering a secure user experience to ensuring site accessibility and providing valuable information to voters.
“The Internet can provide a great public service to voters by delivering answers to their most frequently asked questions, such as inquiries about registration deadlines and polling locations,” said Commissioner Gracia Hillman. “The EAC greatly appreciates the valuable input we received from election officials who assisted us with this project.”
The report calls attention to practices that may inadvertently endanger voter privacy, and encourages the development of online tools that can assist voters as they navigate the voting process.
The study identifies basic information that effective voter information Web sites provide, including:
- Answers to common voter questions such as “Am I registered to vote?” and “Where do I vote?”
- A mapping service to show polling locations.
- A sample ballot that is identical to the ballot issued for the election.
- Information on the registration and voting process.
Features of more advanced voter information Web sites were also identified, such as:
- The option to track absentee ballots and check the status of provisional ballots.
- Interactive ballots that link to additional information about candidates and measures.
- Well designed interfaces that are easy to navigate.
The report also provides tips on preserving system security and user privacy, including how to guard against cyber attacks and convey customized information to voters without disclosing personal information.
The report, researched by Publius, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that studies the impact of the Internet on democracy, is available on the EAC’s Web site at www.eac.gov.
EAC has provided a wide variety of tools and resources to election officials, including election management guidelines, best practices for ballot design and poll worker recruitment, training and retention guidebooks. In addition, the EAC’s Language Assistance Program has produced election terminology glossaries in six languages. These materials are available in the Election Official Center at www.eac.gov.
EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act. The EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The four EAC commissioners are Rosemary Rodriguez, chair; Donetta Davidson, vice chair; Gracia Hillman; and Gineen Beach.