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For Immediate Release
August 24, 2008
Contact: Don Cookson
207-626-8404

Maine’s Election Information Website Earns High Praise

Pew Center Report Puts Maine Elections Website in Top Ten Nationwide

Augusta- Maine does a great job of making election information both easy to find and easy to use, according to a recent report from the Pew Center on the States. “Helping voters educate themselves is one of our primary functions,” said Secretary of State Mathew Dunlap in response to Maine’s top ten ranking. “We take that job very seriously, and obviously the Pew Center recognizes the effectiveness of our educational efforts. It is our firm belief citizens have a responsibility to participate in our Democracy. By providing them a wealth of election-related information, we’re empowering Mainers to be involved in the electoral process.” The Pew Center report, entitled “Being Online is Not Enough”, considered a number of factors, including accessibility, content, whether or not the online information states provide could be easily used, and whether or not the information was helpful.

The report focused on voter registration information, registration status, and whether or not a polling place locator is provided. “Maine’s Election website (www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/) gives you everything you need to learn how to register to vote, as well as an easy-to-use polling place locator, so people know where to vote. In fact, the polling place locator provides a lot more than just the address of your polling place- it shows you which House and Senate District you live in, a list of candidates running for office in your area, and contact information for your local municipal elections official,” Dunlap explained. “A great new addition to online election services this year,” Dunlap continued, “is the absentee ballot request service. We also continue to provide the Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election-- a complete listing of all statewide referendum questions just as they will appear on the November 4 ballot, along with an explanation of exactly what a yes or no vote on each question will mean. With vitally important issues to be determined on Election Day, every person eligible to vote needs to be as informed as possible when they step into a voting booth or fill out their absentee ballot. We are working hard to provide Mainers everything they need to make well-informed decisions on November 4.”

The Pew Center report had Maine’s Election website ranked number 8 in the nation, earning a score of 68. Iowa topped the report’s ranking with a score of 77; the lowest ranked state in the survey received a score of 33. The report also makes recommendations to states for improving ease of use and navigation of their websites. Dunlap says “Our office is always looking for ways to improve our online presence. Despite our very good score in this report, we continue to look for ways to improve, and we’re happy to have the information in this report, which will help us in that effort.” The entire report can be viewed online here: http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/VIP_FINAL_101408_WEB.pdf .