Monday, February 19, 2018

Gaffe gives Gregg County elections website poor rating in survey

By Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Sept. 23, 2016 at 11:53 p.m.

Gregg County Elections Administrator Kathryn Nealy reports early voting results  May 27, 2014, at the Gregg County Courthouse.

A representative with the League of Women Voters-Texas said a likely gaffe led to inaccurate reports that Gregg County's online elections information was inadequate.

Gregg County Elections Administrator Kathryn Nealy said the poor rating was a mistake because the League of Women Voters-Texas never contacted Gregg County or even found the county's website.

"She's right," said League of Women Voters-Texas spokeswoman Aileen McMurrer. "I do know that our information indicated that they didn't find (the website), and I had no trouble finding it."

Earlier this month, the self-described nonpartisan political organization released a study of online availability and adequacy of election information on county websites.

McMurrer said that, during the final two weeks in August, League of Women Voters-Texas members were trained to evaluate county elections websites on certain criteria — ease of locating information, adequacy of election and voter ID information, presence of a link to Texas Secretary of State election information and availability of Spanish language translation.

The league scored Gregg County zero points and gave it an overall evaluation of inadequate. Meanwhile, surrounding counties' evaluations ranged from fair to very good.

McMurrer said a League of Women Voters-Texas board member will review Gregg County's website this weekend, and its data will be adjusted Monday.

"I've done no official review, but saw (Gregg County) had basic information such as voter ID, which is a very big issue for us," McMurrer said. "Our purpose is not to attack anybody," but she said the intent of the survey is to promote best practices on voter education.

Elsewhere in the area, Panola County also received an inadequate rating. Panola Elections Administrator Cheyenne Lampley was unavailable for comment Friday.

Meanwhile, elections websites in Harrison and Rusk counties were rated good by the League of Women Voters-Texas, while Upshur County's website rated fair.

"Texas voters should be able to find voter election information easily," said Grace Chimene, a member of the Texas League Board of Directors, who oversaw the review. "Since counties run elections, the county election website is the most reasonable place to find the information Texas voters need. We hope that this survey will provide counties with helpful feedback."



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