14. Jurisdictions should test all election materials for plain language and usability.

The Commission wrote that voting materials are "notoriously complex" and difficult to read, and urged jurisdictions to engage in usability testing of their voting and polling place materials and adopt plain language requirements. Because people may have varying levels of English proficiency and bureaucratic language is confusing to many, the recommendation was not just limited to jurisdictions with large numbers of non-English speakers. The report further noted that confusing materials are often due to laws that add requirements for voting materials without consideration for usability or readability.

Surprisingly, our survey of state election statutes, regulations, and administrative guidance shows that states have done very little effort to implement this recommendation. While research indicates that plain language substantially influences voting, all but one of the surveyed states' election rules do not require any standard of readability or plain-language requirement in their election materials. The exception is Florida, which requires that voter registration application forms "be in plain language." The survey did not turn up any requirements that states or local jurisdictions perform any usability testing on voting materials, although free resources for such testing are available.

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