Add web designer and web master to the title of Seminole County Supervisor of Elections for Mike Ertel.

Award-winning web designer and web master.

Ertel, tired of paying monthly maintenance fees to a webpage service for a Seminole County voters’ webpage he thought could be done better anyway, set out to design one himself. And it has won a “Golden Web Award” from the The International Association of Web Masters and Designers, he announced today.

The Seminole Supervisor of Elections website opens to a gallery of Seminole County voters’ pictures, with quotes from them explaining why they consider it important to vote. Around the gallery are links to the usual services a supervisor of elections hopes to offer through the internet, including how to register to vote, what elections are upcoming, who is running, where to vote, and elections results.

The site also has features not found on most elections sites, including pictures of candidates, linking to their campaign web pages; pictorial links to city clerks of court’s city elections websites; and a zoom-in feature that allows voters to look at their own districts.

The site cost $299 to put together, he said, and he’s maintaining it himself. Normally, consultants would charge thousands of dollars to put together such a site, he said.

“I didn’t hire anybody,” Ertel said. “I just went in, learned how to program, learned how to do it myself. I had gotten a couple of quotes from bidders and it was thousands of dollars. I thought, ‘You know, I think I know how to do this.'”

Ertel said he believes it won the Golden Web Award because it stresses interaction with voters, beginning with asking them to submit their own stories on why they vote.

“I think the number one thing is it is a living website and that it’s interactive with the voters,” he said. “The first thing you see is voters telling other voters why they vote in Seminole County and what the best part of voting in Seminole County is. “It is less about throwing everything we have on the website, and more about, ‘what is it voters want to see?'”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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