CTCL Helps Edwards County, Kansas Build a New Election Website
Posted by Kurt Sampsel on October 04, 2017 at 2:24 PM
By Kurt Sampsel, Government Services Associate, Center for Technology and Civic Life
Residents of Edwards County, Kansas have a new online home for important civic information thanks to the efforts of the Edwards County Clerk’s office and the Center for Technology and Civic Life.
Located in central Kansas, Edwards County has a population of about 3,000 people. The county seat, Kinsley, is known as Midway U.S.A. for its position exactly halfway between New York City and San Francisco on historic U.S. Route 50.
Before working with us, the Edwards County Clerk’s office didn’t provide any election information online, meaning that locals had to either visit the office in person or go to the Kansas Secretary of State’s website to get information. But County Clerk Gina Schuette and Deputy Clerk Stephanie Brake knew that creating an informative, user-friendly website could really benefit voters.
Gina and Stephanie learned about our Building a New Election Website course in May, when CTCL’s Whitney May and Kurt Sampsel presented at the annual conference of the Kansas County Clerks and Election Officials Association in Manhattan, Kansas.
Before long, Whitney and Kurt were traveling to Kinsley to help the Clerk’s office get started setting up the website template and filling it with content.
The website template is designed to meet the needs of both election officials and voters. Based on research about how voters look for civic information online, the template prioritizes answers to voters’ top questions and incorporates principles of plain design and plain language. The template is also mobile friendly, making it easy to use on a smartphone or tablet. Plus, it’s easy for election staff to maintain throughout election cycles.
Working with Gina, Stephanie, and Clerk II Krysten Brake, we got the new Edwards County Elections website ready in just 2 days.
The original County Clerk page (L) compared to the new Edwards County Elections site (R)
Now, visitors can quickly and easily find what’s on the ballot, view election results, locate their polling place, and more.
In addition to helping the Clerk’s staff set up the website infrastructure, we covered best practices in civic communication, introduced basic web analytics, and helped the staff create a new Facebook Page for the Clerk’s office.
Edwards County is the latest jurisdiction to join our growing list of election authorities that are using our website template. Moving forward, we’re excited to work with more officials in Kansas and beyond to help them create straightforward, effective election websites to better serve their communities.
Do you need to build a new election website, or would you like to make improvements to your current one? We’d love to help. Get in touch at [email protected] to tell us about your needs.