TORRINGTON – Citing increased security and ease of use for county residents, Goshen County launched an upgraded version of its web presence on Feb. 27.
County Clerk Cindy Kenyon previewed the site for commissioners during their regular meeting on Tuesday. The new site hosts a variety of new features, with the standard features – department contacts, online services and more – easier to find and use, she said.
“We needed an upgrade to our website,” Kenyon said Wednesday. “We needed something that works better for the public and this does that.
“The main page has more functionality,” she said. “We can include video, more links, more surveys. We have a lot more information on this website.”
The decision to redesign the county website came after IT Director Jesse Bowen noted attempted “invasive attacks” on the old site, Kenyon said. While no public data was ever at risk in the attacks, the county decided it was time to make the needed improvements.
“When someone started attacking, our IT Department locked the old website down and we started the new website,” she said. “No information was ever breached. No personal information is stored on our website, anyway.”
Bowen worked with LaGrange web designer Brandy Thayler Evans of Dream, Design, Develop LLC on the look of the new website. Assistant Deputy County Clerk Donna Atwood set about the task of locating photos and videos to give the site a more modern, useful appearance and interactive motif, Kenyon said.
“We show some beautiful photographs of Goshen County on our website,” she said. “They were taken by just regular, Goshen County folks.
“Also, on the main page, if people will scroll down, they find a link to a slideshow on the Little Sister of Liberty restoration project and rededication on the courthouse grounds,” Kenyon said. “Plus, there’s some great links to our community.”
Also on the website, under the “Elections” button midway down the main page, residents can access a state-wide voter survey sponsored by the Wyoming County Clerks Association. The survey asks Wyoming voters to share their thoughts on how elections should be handled in the state in the future.
“It’s a survey of Wyoming voters so county clerks around the state can look into what the voting preferences are for the future of Wyoming elections,” Kenyon said. “The survey is part of a pro-active approach to address the future needs for new voting equipment.”
The County Clerks Association started drafting the survey four or five months ago, Kenyon said. Several proposals are being considered for changes to the way elections are carried out in Wyoming.
Among those is a move toward so-called “voting centers,” polling places where any person in a given county could vote, regardless of where they live in the county. Currently, polling is done by precincts, with voters casting ballots within their own neighborhoods.
“If we’re going to make any changes to the methods we use – like doing vote centers, which are in legislation right now – if we’re all going to use vote centers, the survey would help decide if the voters want to use that method,” Kenyon said.
Results of the survey will, in part, help counties and the state decide what type of voting equipment to purchase in the future, she said. Regardless of which way the survey points toward Wyoming voter preferences, buying new equipment is a need that will have to be met soon.
“Even the status quo will require new equipment,” Kenyon said. “What we have now was purchased in 2005 and it needs to be upgraded.”
Estimated cost for new voting equipment for just Goshen County is between $240,000 and $250,000, she said.
Survey results will be forwarded to the Plan for Aging Voting Equipment taskforce. Kenyon will also be releasing a separate, county-only survey sometime during the 2018 election cycle.
“My main concern is the voting method we chose for Goshen County and the state of Wyoming be safe and secure from fraud,” Kenyon said. “Wyoming has very little election fraud and we need to keep it that way.”