The NCSL Blog


By Holly South

Now in its 15th year, NCSL’s Online Democracy Award recognizes a state legislative website that stands out for making democracy user-friendly. Sponsored by the Legislative Information and Communications Staff Association (LINCS) and the National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT), the award will be presented at NCSL’s 2020 Legislative Summit, Aug. 10-13 in Indianapolis.

Online Democracy Award banner

But what elevates a website to award-worthy? The answers are as varied as the 50 states. Just look at past winners of the NCSL Online Democracy Award.

The North Carolina General Assembly’s website was recognized by last year’s judges for making excellent use of the space on its homepage, with a “high value of content per square inch.” The selection committee was especially impressed by the House and Senate dashboards for their easy and intuitive access to everything users would want to know about each chamber’s activities, including live audio from the floor.

The graphically pleasing budget-tracking feature that makes the budget process transparent and easy to understand was part of why the Massachusetts Legislature’s website won in 2018. And in 2017, judges cited the live-chat feature and comprehensive interface designed to reach a geographically spread-out population on the Alaska Legislature’s winning website.

NCSL is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Online Democracy Award. If you are proud of your legislature, chamber or caucus website, please enter to win no later than Friday, April 10.

Holly South is a senior policy specialist in NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services Program and liaison to the Legislative Information and Communications Staff association.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.