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Eagleton Institute of Politics - 60th Anniversary
Eagleton Institute of Politics


E-Gov: Best Practices


Most states now have some form of online voter registration, although typically the service provides only an online form that must be either mailed or delivered personally to a registration office. Several states publish live online election returns, with the most prominent example the use of the Florida online returns in influencing the 2000 presidential election and its legal aftermath.

Primarily as a result of the attention given to the diverse voting systems used in the 2000 election, some states, including Florida, California, Rhode Island and New York, have studied possible reforms in their election systems and the potential for increased use of electronic technology in registration and voting. On a national level, there also has been debate over the feasibility of Internet voting, with current studies underway by both academic researchers and private technology firms.

Several states, either through their election units or other agencies, also post online reports of expenditures and contributions to political parties, committees and candidates, along with lobbyist financial disclosure data.The Wisconsin Ethics Board Web site received the 2002 Public Integrity Award and the 2000 Innovations in American Government Award.

California Secretary of State
An excellent site with live election returns and comprehensive information on voter registration and campaign finance. The site also offers a modified online voter registration service in which voters fill out an online form and are mailed a typed voter registration card with their information for return to their county election official. The Cal-Access campaign finance component is highlighted by its interesting graphic design and its easy-to-use search engine for contributions and expenditures of political action committees, parties, candidate and lobbyists.

Georgia Secretary of State
Awarded the 2001 Eagle E-Government Award by the Council of State Governments for the best executive branch site in the nation. The site features an excellent home page integrating graphics with a flash directory of services that could serve as a general model for most state department Webs. Also check out the online tour of the State Capitol, hosted by a cartoon depiction of Secretary of State Cathy Cox.

Virginia State Board of Elections
Overall excellent site, consolidates election registration and campaign finance information. Easy-to-use search engine for candidate and political committee contribution and expenditure information. Also provides for online verification of voter registration.

Florida Division of Elections
Made famous during the 2000 Presidential race when its online real-time election returns led to Al Gore's withdrawal of his concession of the election, provides a variety of easy-to-use features in voter registration, campaign finance reporting and election returns and  research. It also allows personalization of information searches by selecting individual candidates or campaigns.

California Secretary of State
Excellent site with extensive information and resources for voters, poll workers, political parties and candidates, including live election returns reporting, online polling place locator, multilingual voter information guide. Also sponsors affiliated VoteAmerica site.

Wisconsin Ethics Board-Eye on Lobbying Program
The Wisconsin Ethics Board Web site permits anyone with access to the Internet to search for and identify a specific legislative proposal, discover the organizations trying to influence it, and learn their positions. The Board updates its site three times daily. The site received the 2002 Public Integrity Award sponsored by the Council of State Governments,·the American Society for Public Administration, the International City/County Management Association, and· the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and also the 2000 Innovations in American Government Award sponsored by Harvard University and the Ford Foundation as one of the 25 most significant innovations in American government in the year 2000.