The elections websites for Burnet and Llano counties earned improved marks in 2020 from a grassroots non-profit organization, placing both in the top third of Texas’ 254 counties.
Overall, the League of Women Voters of Texas gave the Llano County website a score of 100 points, which earns a ranking of “Outstanding,” while the Burnet County site only received 85 points, which earns a ranking of “Very Good.”
Only 56 counties, or 22 percent, received a ranking of Outstanding, which means the county accumulated 90 points or more, while just 22, or nine percent, received a ranking of Very Good, which means the county received between 80 to 89 points. The highest possible score for all items was 120, according to the League of Women Voters of Texas website.
In 2019, Llano County earned a score of 80 points for “Very Good,” while Burnet County had only received 65 points for a ranking of “Good.”
“I’m glad that they gave our web site a favorable grade,” said Burnet County Elections Administrator Doug Ferguson. “Ultimately our goal is to be helpful to the voters and we listen to what they are asking for and try to accommodate them the best we can.”
“Voters look to their counties to find accurate, accessible, and useful voter information on safe and secure county election websites,” said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas.
“This review was conducted to assess how each county prepared to serve voters for the November 2020 General Election.”
Chimene said the League of Women Voters of Texas is currently working to “develop additional programs and resources to enable Texas counties to provide excellent voter information to better serve their communities.”
Both Burnet and Llano counties were dinged by the LWV for not having a website with a government-verified Dot.Gov domain, or a website that ends in “.gov.” They were not alone, however, as only 15 of the websites surveyed by LWV have a government-verified Dot.Gov domain. Burnet County’s website ends in “.org” while Llano County’s ends in “.tx.us.”
However, Llano County did receive points for having a “secure” website by having a lock, which indicates a digital encryption certificate for all information transmitted to and from the website. Burnet County has no such digital encyption on its website.
LWV did praise both counties for having websites that were mobile-friendly, easy to find, having a special category for military and overseas voters and a link to the Texas Secretary of State’s website.
The counties also were noted for their detailed contact information for county election offices; dates, locations and hours for early voting and Election Day; voter registration applications and mail baillot applications online; polling location information, online sample ballots, election results; and election judge and clerk or poll worker training information.
Burnet County also received points for information about volunteer deputy registrars, precinct boundary changes (maps) and candidate filing information.
Llano County earned extra points for including the voting order; safe voting information for the pandemic; establishing voters with special needs/disabled and student or young voters as special categories; providing a link to the League of Women Voters voters guide and making more information accessible in Spanish.