A civic engagement toolkit for election officials: ElectionTools.org
Elections offices throughout the country new and better ways to serve voters in 2016, thanks to a partnership that brings elections officials from across the country together with elections experts specializing in technology and design.
The Election Toolkit, an online library of tech resources, includes tools like a Twitter guide, a free app to measure voter wait times, tools for publishing real-time election results, and a collection of civic icons. All of the tools in the Toolkit are either free or low cost and come paired with step-by-step instructions, making them accessible to any election official, regardless of their budget or technical ability.
“Understanding how to use digital tools is key to effectively communicating things like law changes and deadlines to voters. And using data can help make sure that every voter’s experience is seamless. While technology can’t solve every problem, we see the Toolkit as a resource that any election office can use to manage and publish their really rich information in ways that communities have come to expect.” – Tiana Epps-Johnson, Executive Director at the Center for Technology and Civic Life.
This was a collaboration that involved dozen of election officials who helped proposed, prioritize, and select the tools, and were part of the team through the whole process.
“We are drawing upon years of elections research and practical experience running elections for different constituencies to develop and test tools that will be useful to elections offices all across the country,” said ,” said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer. “Collaboration allows all of us to stretch our capabilities.”
To explore what election officials need, we organized a workshop to set the priorities for the Toolkit, with 19 election officials serving 7.18 million registered voters. The workshop resulted in:
The group developed these ideas into 22 concepts for tools, and then voted on the in a prioritization exercise. The tools featured in the Toolkit will aim to address many of the needs identified at the Chicago workshop.
Read more about the workshop: Election Officials Gather in Chicago for Toolkit Workshop.
A smaller group gathered in Hillsborough County to work on the design of the Toolkit website. The focus of the exercises were on the organization of the site and how content will be presented. We worked on:
We collected usability input throughout the project with remote and in-person testing.
Building on the outcomes from the design workshop, Oxide Design created mockups for key pages in the site. We tested those with election officials who had participated in the workshops or by suggesting tools. The results helped us refine the design.
Then, we met up in Los Angeles at the Future of California Elections conference to put the first working version of the site in front of election officials. More input. More improvements.
Finally, as we got close, we invited people to a beta of the site and asked them to visit the site, try one of the tools and
Do you have a great idea for a civic engagement tool? Materials you’d like to share? Tell us your suggestion.
Or join the conversation on social media with #ElectionTools