The League of Women Voters of Texas has rated Gregg County’s webpage for elections information among the best in the state.
The greggcountyvotes.com website met nearly every standard in the league’s fourth survey of Texas county websites in October and November to score 91 total points, placing Gregg County in the top fourth percentile among all 254 counties.
Only 20% of websites surveyed were considered secure, and Gregg County made the list.
Surveyors also determined that the Gregg site is mobile friendly, is easy for voters to find, has most of the pertinent election information available, provides ample voter ID info and special categories for voters who are military, have special needs or are overseas.
The League of Women Voters rated Gregg County’s website as outstanding. Among its only criticisms was that the website domain name doesn’t end with a government-verified DotGov domain but is instead a “.com.”
Through DotGov, websites with a “.gov” domain name now can be verified as being part of a legitimate governmental entity through a new security measure for domain name systems.
Rusk County’s website scored 75 points and was rated good. Upshur County’s website rated fair with 45 points, while Smith County and Harrison County each rated good with 70 points apiece. Panola County scored 50 points and rated fair.
“The 2020 election year is almost upon us,” said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas. “Texas voters will be inundated with campaign messaging. Voters will look to their counties to find accurate, accessible and useful voter information on safe and secure county election websites. Many counties need to take steps now to become a trusted resource for voters.”
Available languages was the only category in which Gregg County failed to score a point because the website is only in English, but Elections Administrator Kathryn Nealy said officials are working to make improvements.
She said the website has a link for voters to get information in Spanish through votetexas.gov/es .
“We’re continuing to build that webpage. When we have people that say, ‘Well, I couldn’t find this, (or) I’d like to see this,’ then we add those things,” Nealy said.
The county created greggcountyvotes.com about three years ago.
“It was very basic when we started it because we didn’t know anything,” Nealy said, “but as we find things that we want to add, and we hear things that people want us to make it easier for them to find and have access to, it will always be a work in progress. We will continue to build it and make it easier for the voters.”
She encourages voters to familiarize themselves with the website to get the elections information they need when they need it.
“Since not everybody gets a newspaper or they don’t listen to the radio or they don’t watch the news on TV, then this is their best source to learn all of that information, and they can look at our Facebook page, and there’s a link to our webpage,” she said.
“We’re trying to reach out to our voters the best we can, and that’s the best source for information for them, but they’re going to have to learn to use it,” Nealy said. “They’re going to have to know to go to that webpage.”