SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature's website, le.utah.gov, took home the 2014 Online Democracy Award this week during the National Conference of State Legislatures' 2014 Legislative Summit in Minneapolis.
The award is given each year to a legislature, legislative chamber, or caucus whose website makes democracy user-friendly in an exceptional way. The winning website is chosen by a committee of legislative staffers who evaluate each site's design, content and use of technology.
"Making government transparent and inclusive builds the nation, quietly, but just as consequentially as volunteers registering new voters, pioneers charting the wilderness, or revolutionaries marching at Valley Forge," said Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy. "Online democracy is a giant leap in the evolution of local self-governance and human freedom."
This is the second time Utah has won the award. The Utah Legislature's website won the first prize when the National Conference of State Legislatures initiated the program in 2005.
The judges called Utah's site "an information powerhouse," praising features that include: the sophisticated layout and functionality of the legislative calendar, straightforward search capabilities and options, fully integrated audio and video, a mobile-friendly version, special attention to accessibility and a comprehensive ADA Web page, features that draw interest, such as the Taxpayer Receipt, and a "How can we improve this page?" element on every page that encourages public feedback.
"Now more than ever, we need citizens involved in their state government," said Utah House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo. "We've worked hard to ensure that Utah's legislative website makes government more transparent, more accountable and more approachable."