Resources > Election Website Template

Election Website Template

A template to create a straightforward election website that answers voters’ top questions.

A website is an essential tool to inform voters. But many government websites are hard for voters to use and challenging for election officials to maintain.

This website template is built upon years of research on how voters seek civic information online. The site is easy to use, mobile friendly, and secure.

Where permitted, free support is provided by the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to help any election official set up the website, regardless of your technical skills. Where free support is not permitted, CTCL provides basic technical set up support for $500. 

This resource was created by U.S. Digital Response in partnership with the Center for Tech and Civic Life, based on user experience research by the Center for Civic Design.

What you’ll need

What you’ll need

  • Computer with internet access
  • $300 per year for WordPress hosting
  • $10 – $20 per year for custom domain

Getting started

Getting started

1. Website template overview

U.S. Digital Response and Center for Tech and Civic Life have created an original website template that’s a great fit for any election department — large or small, urban or rural. The template is built on research from the Center for Civic Design about how voters look for civic information online. It’s mobile friendly, loads quickly, and meets the highest standards of cybersecurity.

Along with the template, where permitted, CTCL offers free training to help you set up the secure infrastructure, customize the content, and launch your site.

You can explore the website and its features by visiting the sample site at

Looking for a website for your state association?

We also have a template for that. Visit the CTCL website for more information about the state association website template. The basic setup process is the same.

2. Submit a service request

Ready to start building a new election website? Great!

Where permitted, the Center for Tech and Civic Life offers free, remote support to walk you through every step of the process. (Where free support is not permitted, CTCL provides basic technical set up support for $500.)

To get started, please submit an inquiry using the form below. Once you do, a CTCL staff member will reach out to you to address any questions you have and coordinate the website setup.

3. Review frequently asked questions

While you’re waiting for the response to your service request, you can review these FAQs regarding the website template and the setup process.

What are the computer system requirements to use the website template?

For the template’s best performance you should use Google Chrome as your web browser. Google Chrome is a free web browser that you can download to your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. You must have an operating system that supports Google Chrome. For full Google Chrome support on your PC, it needs Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 or later. For full Google Chrome support on your Mac, it needs OS X 10.10 or higher.

Why does the site use WordPress as the publishing platform?

WordPress is one of the most widely used web publishing platforms. It’s easy to use, regularly maintained, and comes with strong security features.

How much does the website and training cost?

The website template is  free of cost. Where permitted, free support is provided to help any election official set up the website. Where free support is not permitted, CTCL provides basic technical set up support for $500. WordPress hosting costs $300 annually. Your domain will cost an additional $10-$20 per year.

How long will it take to build my website?

When you work with us, setting up your site will normally take about 1-2 weeks, including an initial kickoff call and a review of your website content prior to launch. We’re happy to accommodate your schedule.

How much support does CTCL provide after training?

After your website launches, CTCL can provide up to 10 hours of remote support. We will answer your questions and provide guidance for new goals or challenges that you encounter with your website. We also maintain an archive of courses, webinars, and tech tools that you may access at any time.

How secure will my new website be?

Login credentials, including an email address and password, are required to make any changes to your election website. You create your own login credentials, and we’ll help you set up 2-step verification to protect your account. In addition, your website will be equipped with HTTPS, the new standard for website security. Finally, we encourage election departments to use a .gov domain, although this is not a requirement.

Can I create a custom URL or use my existing URL for my new website?

Yes, custom URLs or domain names can be purchased by your office for $10-$20 per year through WordPress. We can work with you to choose a custom URL and redirect your new election website to the URL of your choice, including your current one.

Can I add decorative images and graphics?

You can add images but we recommend that you avoid adding unnecessary decoration to your website. The template is designed so that voters can easily find the information they need. Decorative images and graphics can be distracting, may slow down the load time of your website, and can negatively impact how your website appears on mobile devices.

Can I add a feature that translates the language on the website?

It’s easy to integrate Google Translate into your finished website. Google Translate makes your election website instantly available in over 90 languages. Learn more about Google Translate.

Will my website crash if lots of people visit it at the same time — like on Election Night?

Any website, regardless of domain or platform, may see lowered performance when it experiences a spike in traffic. But WordPress has servers worldwide and is recognized for being robust and reliable. Additionally, our template is designed to be “lightweight,” which requires relatively little bandwidth to load. To date, none of the jurisdictions that use our template have reported website traffic or reliability problems.

Using the tool

Using the tool

Once your new election website infrastructure is set up, it’s time to customize your content, launch your website, test it with voters (and make possible revisions), and then maintain your site.

The sections below walk you through best practices for communicating effectively, getting feedback on your site, maintaining your website throughout the election cycle, and analyzing your website’s traffic.

Writing in plain language

1. Writing in plain language

Publishing election information online is a great step toward better serving your community, but you also need to ensure that you’re communicating clearly and effectively.

That means keeping in mind principles of plain language. As you customize and add content on your website, be sure to use plain language principles to make the content easily understandable for all of your visitors.

Why is plain language important?

  • It reaches everybody. Communicating ideas plainly reaches people with low literacy, people with limited English language comprehension, and anybody who wants to access information quickly and easily.
  • It avoids misunderstandings. Being clear the first time means you won’t have to clarify later.
  • It saves your office time and money. How much time and energy does your staff spend answering questions on the phone or providing information that’s already available elsewhere? Plain language can’t solve this problem entirely, but it helps.

Plain language principles

  • Write in the positive
  • Use the active voice
  • Write directly to the reader
  • Include straightforward, familiar terms
  • Use short words and short sentences
  • List important information separate from paragraph text

For additional plain language tips, check out this helpful Center for Plain Language checklist.

Testing your website with voters

2. Testing your website with voters

When your website content is ready, it’s a great idea to test the site with voters before you formally launch the site and start driving traffic to it. By asking members of your target audience to try using the site, you’ll discover opportunities to improve your website so that it better meets your community’s needs.

Usability testing is easier than you may think. These are the basic steps:

  1. With help from the Usability Testing Kit, start by identifying a few common tasks you’d like participants to try with your website (things like finding what’s on the ballot or finding information about how to register to vote).
  2. Next, recruit a few participants, ask them to complete the tasks using the website, and observe their process.
  3. Once your tests are complete, if you saw that participants seemed to have trouble with one or more of the tasks, consider what revisions you could make to the site that would help.
  4. Finally, implement revisions.

If you want to try usability testing but have questions or need help, reach out to

Maintaining your website

3. Maintaining your website

Having an effective website means, among other things, that you have to maintain and update it. Refer to these checklists to make sure that your website is targeted to the needs of your community at each phase of the election calendar.

45-day pre-election website inventory

Soon before the next election, your website will experience a surge of traffic. Are you ready? By publishing up-to-date information on your site, you can reduce confusion – and calls to your office – on Election Day. Pay close attention to the following popular pages and their content:

What’s on the ballot
  • Table of all races and candidates
  • PDFs of example ballots or images of touchscreen voting machine ballots
Vote by mail
  • Deadline to apply for a mail ballot
  • Deadline to return a mail ballot
  • Link to application
  • Contact information
Where to vote early
  • Table of all early voting locations with addresses, dates, and times of operation
Where to vote in person
  • Table of all polling places with precincts and addresses
Election calendar
  • Table of voter-specific dates (voter registration deadline, vote by mail application deadline, early voting dates, canvass date, etc.)
  • Table of candidate-specific dates (filing deadlines, campaign finance disclosure deadlines, etc.)
About us
  • Names, titles, phone numbers, and email addresses for all office staff
  • Physical address, mailing address, fax number for office

Checklist: Post-election website inventory

Just because the election is over doesn’t mean you can put your website on ice. Keep your community engaged by updating your site on election night and in the weeks following the election.

Home page
  • Update banner for the upcoming election
Election results
  • Update table of all races and candidates with number of votes and win or lose
  • PDFs of detailed results
Election calendar
  • Update table of voter-specific dates (voter registration deadline, vote by mail application deadline, early voting dates, canvass date, etc.)
  • Update table of candidate-specific dates (filing deadlines, etc.)
What’s on the ballot
  • List races for next election
Vote by mail
  • Update deadline to apply for a mail ballot
  • Update deadline to return a mail ballot
Using your analytics

4. Using your analytics

One of the most helpful features of a website is its analytics. By looking at your analytics, you can gain insights into how people are using your website, and you can make changes in order to better meet their needs.

The right side of the page displays a list of your pages along with their page views. You can quickly see which pages are the most popular. Popularity among pages will change throughout the year. For example, people search for what’s on their ballot in the days leading up to and on Election Day. On the other hand, information about election results is in demand on election night and in the weeks after an election.

Why do page views matter? Most importantly, you can see what information is the most valuable to your visitors over time. By knowing what election information folks are viewing and not viewing, you can strategically focus your resources to meet the needs of your community and deliver a positive local government experience throughout the year.

For more detailed website analytics, you can add a Google Analytics tracking ID to your election website. You can get started at

Customizing for your office

Any tips for customizing this resource for my office?

This template is highly customizable. The features offered through this template can be modified to fit your jurisdiction. Some of those customizable features include:

  • Your county seal
  • Voting information in your jurisdiction
  • News & press releases in your jurisdiction
  • Contact information

How do I know if this resource is helping?

You’ll know that this resource is working if you receive fewer calls and emails to your office asking for information that can be found on your website.

Which Values for Election Excellence does this resource support? Why?

Values for the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence define our shared vision for the way election departments across the country can aspire to excellence. These values help us navigate the challenges of delivering successful elections and maintaining our healthy democracy.

Alliance values are nonpartisan and designed by local election officials, designers, technologists and other experts to support local election departments.

You may find this tool especially helpful for this Value:

  • Proactive transparency. This tool is intended to ensure that voters can efficiently find accurate election information online.
Sharing feedback

Sharing Feedback

How was this resource developed?

This resource has been put into practice by at least one jurisdiction. Share your experience with this resource and improve it for your peers by reaching via

How do I stay in touch?