The Internet has increasingly become the main source of information for many Americans. Indeed, many errands we once accomplishedwith a car or a postage stamp are now done simply with a few clicks of the mouse. As Americans have grown more dependent upon sites such as Amazon and Netflix, it stands to reason that they are also increasingly more likely to seek out information regarding their civic duties using the Internet.
Because of this ever-growing dependence upon the Web, it is more important than ever that government institutions engage voters online. While analysts, politicians, and many others have been busy discussing online voting for years, few have taken stock of where state governments are right now when it comes to communicating with voters online. If Internet voting ever does become commonplace in the American electoral landscape, it is only logical that it would come after other necessary steps in the voting process like Internet registration and Internet absentee applications. Before any of those technological advances in the voting process, it makes sense that a state must first determine how to properly communicate information online and create logical ways to access the functionality the state already enlists. In the spirit of calls for what Heather Gerken has termed a “Democracy Index” of how well states run elections, this post attempts to survey states’ online voter information sites to assess where things stand. Continue reading