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Revamped Lewis County Elections Website Increases Accessibility

May 13,2017 12:17

Just in time for candidate filing week, which begins Monday, the Lewis County elections website now has a new look and layout that makes it easier for voters in the county to access pertinent information, according to the Auditor's Office. The revamped ...


Just in time for candidate filing week, which begins Monday, the Lewis County elections website now has a new look and layout that makes it easier for voters in the county to access pertinent information, according to the Auditor’s Office. 
The revamped web page went live in late April. It incorporates recommendations from the Disabilities Rights Washington group to ensure it’s more user-friendly for all members of the public.
“Our goal was to provide a new elections web page that is clean and uncluttered, but most of all user-friendly to all individuals in our community,” Lewis County Auditor Larry Grove said. 
Chief Deputy Auditor Tom Stanton worked with Josh Heck and Mitch Guthrie from the county’s IT department to rebuild the site from the bottom up. 
Stanton said the Auditor’s Office had received a report from Disabilities Rights Washington last summer that recommended several changes after the group reviewed all of the auditor election websites in the state for accessibility.
“We had been unhappy with the look and the feel of the website for a while,” Stanton said, adding the Auditor’s Office wanted to organize it in a more reasonable and logical manner. “We knew we needed to improve the website and also wanted to abide by what the recommendations were from Disabilities Rights Washington.” 
The work started at the beginning of the year with a series of meetings with the county IT department to discuss what changes should be made while implementing the recommendations they had received. 
Some of the information on the old site could not be read properly through a screen reader, which are utilized by individuals who have visual impairments. Stanton said there were also some navigation issues due to the organizational structure of the site.
“It’s pretty night and day,” Stanton said of the new site when compared to the older version.
Prior to launching the new site, the Auditor’s Office sent a beta version back to the Disabilities Rights Washington group, which had several more suggestions to make the platform even more user-friendly.
“I think they appreciated us not only reviewing the report and working toward fixing the issues they saw, but also checking back with them to make sure we had resolved any issues,” Stanton said.
Grove said the group reviewed the layout and design, font styles and size, color palettes and screen reader compatibility, among other items. 
“A member of our Elections’ Disability Advisory Committee who is sight impaired reviewed the site during development to ensure that we were on target and that it would accomplish the desired goals,” Grove said. 
Stanton said the Auditor’s Office appreciates the IT department’s work on the site, which allowed the site to be more visually appealing. 
Now at the top of the website, the Auditor’s Office has the ability to highlight what is happening at any given time of the year. Much of the information on the site is the same, it’s just better organized, Stanton said. 
Visit the Website
To access the Lewis County elections website, go online to http://elections.lewiscountywa.gov/.

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