Pew survey of state election websites

I blogged earlier about the disconnect between what voters want from an election website and what states actually provide. A survey and accompanying series of infographics from Pew look at five things voters may want to access online: polling place lookup tool, registration status, absentee ballot status, provisional ballot status, and sample ballot.

To me, the most surprising fact is that just 25 states make a sample ballot online. In an age when long lines at the polling place are deemed a symptom of some larger problem, one would hope that simple things to speed up voters--like, perhaps, informing them well in advance about what will actually be on the ballot before they arrive at the polling place--would be at the forefront of solutions.

Indeed, Miami-Dade County in Florida had an extremely long ballot in the 2012 presidential election, including 12 constitutional amendments and 10 county questions, many of which had lengthy descriptions. The County moved to limit the number of items that could appear on the ballot; the state of Florida moved to limit the length of descriptions.

And while Florida does offer a sample ballot lookup tool, one solution for many states is to make this information available to voters as far in advance of the election as possible, especially in an easy-to-find online election database.