The non-profit Center for Governmental Studies reviewed state elections web sites around the country, and it found “abysmal” offerings. But Washington’s site, maintained by recently-elected Secretary of State Kim Wyman‘s staff, ranked third best and was one of only three systems getting a B grade or better.
“The top four states, Alaska, California, Washington and Oregon, found an innovative way to provide their voters with candidate information, including audio statements read by a neutral party,” says the report titled “Voter Information in the Ditigal Age: Grading State Election Websites.
It adds: “Washington’s state election website provides much of the candidate information voters need to make informed decisions at the ballot box. The site provides voters with candidate lists, candidate photos, elected experience, other professional experience, education, community service, platform statements, phone numbers and email.”
You can see the Los Angeles-based group’s full report here. Only eight states and the District of Columbia earned a D grade or better and 42 states failed – with Pennsylvania ranking rock bottom.
An excerpt on page 21 says:
As these abysmal scores indicate, the vast majority of state election websites across the nation fail to provide voters with the comprehensive information that they need to make informed decisions at the ballot box. Alaska and California are exceptions. Both received an A with a score of 90 percent. Both states received 61 out of a possible 68 points in the overall assessment, providing strong candidate information and ballot measure information. Although not perfect, these scores make them the top providers of substantive candidate and ballot measure information.
Washington and Oregon also performed better than most states, providing most of the essential candidate and ballot measure information and scoring of 81 (B) and 71 percent (C), respectively.
Most states, however, provide only the most basic candidate and ballot measure information, and some fail even to do that effectively. Oklahoma, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, for example, received the poorest overall scores, ranking in the bottom 49 through 51, respectively. These states did little more than provide lists of candidates running for state and federal offices, candidate party affiliations and candidate campaign finance information.
The state elections office posted the news on its web site here.