Election website template

A template to create a straightforward election website that answers voters’ top questions

Nearly a third of all counties in the U.S. lack an election website. And many other election offices are saddled with one-size-fits-all vendor sites that are hard for administrators to maintain and hard for voters to use.

Wouldn’t you like to have a simple and effective election website for your office? This site is built upon years of research on how voters seek civic information online, it’s easy to use, and it’s even mobile friendly.

What you'll need

  • Computer with internet access
  • Google/Gmail account
  • $99.00 for online website-building course (free option also available)
  • $10.00 – $20.00 for custom URL (optional)

Are you ready to start building a new election website? To make the site, you have two options when it comes to instructions: an online course and a text-based user guide. We recommend the online course, but the guide is free.

Table of contents

  1. Online course
  2. Website user guide

Online course

The course provides step-by-step instructions using videos, demonstrations, and interactive elements. The cost is $99.00.

The opening video of the training announces that it will help a user build an election website

The online course provides step-by-step guidance and an interactive experience

Enroll in the online course

Website user guide

If you would prefer to use free instructions, you can build your election website by following along with a text-based user guide. It’s approximately 60 pages and includes screenshots to illustrate important steps in the process.

The user guide will get you started creating a website for your election office. In order to receive all the materials to create an election website using the template, you will need to email hello@techandciviclife.org and request all of the election website template files via Google Drive. The files, like the user guide, are free.

View the Website Template User Guide (PDF)

Table of contents

  1. Writing in plain language
  2. Maintaining your website
  3. Using your analytics

Writing in plain language

Publishing election information online is a great step toward better serving your community, but you also need to ensure that you’re communicating clearly and effectively.

That means keeping in mind principles of plain language.

Why is plain language important?

  • It reaches everybody. Communicating ideas plainly reaches people with low literacy, people with limited English language comprehension, and anybody who wants to access information quickly and easily.
  • It avoids misunderstandings. Being clear the first time means you won’t have to clarify later.
  • It saves your office time and money. How much time and energy does your staff spend answering questions on the phone or providing information that’s already available elsewhere? Plain language can’t solve this problem entirely, but it helps.

Plain language principles

  • Write in the positive
  • Use the active voice
  • Write directly to the reader
  • Include straightforward, familiar terms
  • Use short words and short sentences
  • List important information separate from paragraph text

For additional plain language tips, check out this helpful Center for Plain Language checklist.

Maintaining your website

Having an effective website means, among other things, that you have to maintain and update it. Refer to these checklists to make sure that your website is targeted to the needs of your community at each phase of the election calendar.

45-day pre-election website inventory

Soon before the next election, your website will experience a surge of traffic. Are you ready? By publishing up-to-date information on your site, you can reduce confusion – and calls to your office – on Election Day. Pay close attention to the following popular pages and their content:

What’s on the ballot

  • Table of all races and candidates
  • PDFs of example ballots or images of touchscreen voting machine ballots

Vote by mail

  • Deadline to apply for a mail ballot
  • Deadline to return a mail ballot
  • Link to application
  • Contact information

Where to vote early

  • Table of all early voting locations with addresses, dates, and times of operation

Where to vote on Election Day

  • Table of all polling places with precincts and addresses

Election calendar

  • Table of voter-specific dates (voter registration deadline, vote by mail application deadline, early voting dates, canvass date, etc.)
  • Table of candidate-specific dates (filing deadlines, campaign finance disclosure deadlines, etc.)

Contact us

  • Names, titles, phone numbers, and email addresses for all office staff
  • Physical address, mailing address, fax number for office

Your elected officials

  • Table of elected officials including office name, office level, official name, official contact information

Checklist: Post-election website inventory

Just because the election is over doesn’t mean you can put your website on ice. Keep your community engaged by updating your site on election night and in the weeks following the election.

Main menu

  • Update next election date (first link on main menu)

Election results

  • Update table of all races and candidates with number of votes and win or lose
  • PDFs of detailed results

Election calendar

  • Update table of voter-specific dates (voter registration deadline, vote by mail application deadline, early voting dates, canvass date, etc.)
  • Update table of candidate-specific dates (filing deadlines, etc.)

Your elected officials

  • Update table of elected officials including office name, office level, official name, official contact information

What’s on the ballot

  • List races for next election

Vote by mail

  • Update deadline to apply for a mail ballot
  • Update deadline to return a mail ballot

Using your analytics

One of the most powerful features of this website template is its analytics. By looking at your analytics, you can gain insights into how people are using your website, and you can make changes in order to better meet their needs.

One of the fundamental questions that analytics can answer is what content people are reading on your website.

Your website publishes 20 pages and one post (your home page). Find your page stats by clicking on Stats and then Posts on the left.

A user can access website page stats on the left menu in the Blogger dashboard

The election results page on your website may be most popular after an election

The lower portion of the page displays a list of your pages along with their page views. You can quickly see which pages are the most popular. Popularity among pages will change throughout the year. For example, people search for what’s on their ballot in the days leading up to and on Election Day. On the other hand, information about election results is in demand on election night and in the weeks after an election.

Why do page views matter? Most importantly, you can see what information is the most valuable to your visitors over time. By knowing what election information folks are viewing and not viewing, you can strategically focus your resources to meet the needs of your community and deliver a positive local government experience throughout the year.

For more detailed website analytics, you can add a Google Analytics tracking ID to your election website. Learn more about using Google Analytics with the Basic Web Analytics tool.