Website Template FAQs

 

We already have a county website. Why would it be beneficial to create a new election website? 

Most election officials are in this situation. For the following reasons, it's well worth creating a new website specifically to host election information:

  • Election information is special. With website vendors, you get a one-size-fits-all approach to providing government information. But your website design should be made to fit election information -- and not the other way around. Our website template is based upon years of research about how voters look for election information online, and it's built to meet their needs. Research from the Center for Civic Design is at the heart of the template.
  • You get control. Do you feel in control of your election website? Many of the election officials that we meet say they don't. The template makes publishing vital civic information as easy as writing an email -- there's no coding and no IT expertise required. 
  • You learn. Along with the election website comes training that's intended to help you and your staff learn about publishing civic information online. This means you will be able to publish and update your site yourself instead of asking somebody else to do it for you. In our digital age, having the knowhow and confidence to maintain your web presence is vitally important.

 

What are the computer system requirements to use the website template?

For the template’s best performance you need to use Google Chrome as your web browser. Google Chrome is a free web browser that you can download to your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. You must have an operating system that supports Google Chrome. For full Google Chrome support on your PC, it needs Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10. For full Google Chrome support on your Mac, it needs OS X 10.9 or higher.

 

Can I add a feature that translates the language on the website?

Google Translate is automatically included in the template. Google Translate makes your election website instantly available in over 90 languages. Learn more about Google Translate.

 

Can I add decorative images and graphics?

You can add images but we recommend that you avoid adding unnecessary decoration to your website. The template is designed so that voters can easily find the information they need. Decorative images and graphics can be distracting, may slow down the load time of your website, and can negatively impact how your website appears on mobile devices.

 

Can I create a custom URL or use my existing URL for my new website?

Yes, custom URLs or domain names can be purchased by your office for as little as $10 per year. We can work with you to choose a custom URL and redirect your new election website to the URL of your choice, including your current one.

 

Which training option is best for my election office?

CTCL offers two training programs. Both include training materials and website creation. You can choose the option that best fits your election office’s needs, resources, and learning style.

  1. Self-paced course: Inexpensive option that’s the best fit for officials who are confident in their tech skills and prefer learning independently
  2. In-person training: Ideal for officials who may lack tech expertise and prefer the personal touch of face-to-face communication

 

How long will it take to build my website?

The time it takes to build your website depends on the type of training you choose and your own pace and schedule. Working a few hours a day, you can complete the self-paced course in one week -- more or fewer days depending on how many hours you spend each day. The online workshop is conducted in 1 full-day session and 2 half-day sessions for a total commitment of 3 days. And the in-person training takes 2-3 days depending on needs and staff.

 

How much support does CTCL provide after training?

All website training options include 10 hours of CTCL remote support after your website is published. We will answer your questions and provide guidance for new goals or challenges that you encounter with your website. We also maintain an archive of tech tutorials that you may access at any time. 

 

Are there maintenance fees?

CTCL does not charge maintenance fees. Our training will equip you with the skills to maintain your new election website. Your office is responsible for keeping your website content up-to-date. You can contact us with questions after your website is published. If you decide to purchase a custom URL, you are responsible for paying the annual fee.

 

Why Blogger?

Blogger is a simple yet powerful website platform maintained and updated by Google. It’s free, easy to use, reliable, and seamlessly integrates other free Google products like Google Translate and Google Maps. Learn more about Google Blogger.

 

How secure will my new website be?

Login credentials, including an email address and password, are required to make any changes to your election website. You create your own login credentials. You can add another layer of protection by using 2-Step Verification on your email account. Learn more about Google’s 2-Step Verification.

 

Will my website crash if lots of people visit it at the same time -- like on Election Night?

Any website, regardless of domain or platform, may see lowered performance when it experiences a spike in traffic. But Blogger -- which is hosted by Google -- has servers worldwide and is recognized for being robust and reliable. Additionally, our template is designed to be “lightweight,” which requires relatively little bandwidth to load. To date, none of the jurisdictions that use our template have reported website traffic or reliability problems. 

 

If we don’t need a new election website but want feedback about our existing website, how can CTCL help us?

Whether you’re building a new election website or just want to improve your current one, we can provide you with a free website assessment to get started. Our staff will take a close, careful look at your current site and offer you a detailed evaluation. We assess the extent to which your site uses principles of plain design and plain language, answers voters’ most common questions, and is usable on mobile devices. Using the feedback provided in the assessment, your staff can make improvements to your website at your convenience.

Email Kurt at kurt@techandciviclife.org for more information about our website assessment process and schedule yours today!  

We are developing training materials for election officials who want to update and redesign their existing website rather than use our template. Check out our Training Services page to get started.