Hays Co. has the highest scoring election website in the state, according to the latest League of Women Voters statewide review of county elections sites. Bastrop, Collin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Bend, Harris, Lee, McLennan, Montgomery, Taylor, Travis and Williamson Cos.’ election websites were rated “outstanding” by the League. Another 23 counties were rated as “very good.”
The review was conducted just before this month’s statewide constitutional amendment election. Individual county results can be found here.
“Voters will look to their counties to find accurate, accessible and useful voter information on safe and secure county election websites,” said Grace Chimene, the League’s president. “Many counties need to take steps now to become a trusted resource for voters.” Just 20% of county election sites are following online security best practices, the League found.
The League graded sites based on a number of criteria including website security, mobile friendliness, ease of use, thoroughness of information, help for special categories of voters and availability of information in Spanish. It found:
- 80% were “mobile friendly” but many provided key information via PDFs which are difficult to view on mobile devices
- 80% provided information on polling locations, with slightly fewer providing dates and times that they would be open
- 73% provided sample ballots
- 60% linked to www.votetexas.gov, the state’s official voting information web site.
- 58% provided election results (This is a pet peeve of ours. We thank the Texas Assoc. of Counties for building out a county results database.)
- 56% provided “any” information in Spanish but most failed to comply with requirements that all voting materials be translated into Spanish 42% provided voting information for people with disabilities
- 45% provided a current list of acceptable photo IDs or alternate ID methods
- 42% permitted voters to verify their registration online
- 26% provided information for voters in the military or overseas
- 22% provided information about election judge and election clerk training
- 21% of county election sites were “secure” in the sense that they used the secure socket layer (SSL) protocol (See the little lock in your browser’s URL bar? That’s because Texas Election Source uses SSL to provide you a secure connection to us.)
- 10% provided information for student voters
The League determined 74 counties – 29% of the total – had “inadequate” election information posted online. Among those, 19 county websites “do not appear to be official,” and Crockett Co. had no web presence whatsoever.
In general, the quality and amount of information posted to county election websites have been improving in recent years House Bill 933 by Rep. John Bucy (D-Cedar Park), which took effect in September, requires counties and the Secretary of State to post more election-related information online. Many counties have not fully complied with the law’s new requirements.
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