As Election Day nears, I thought it would be a good time to write an update on the Danner for Nebraska campaign website. I previously wrote about my experience building Spencer Danner’s campaign website when he launched his campaign nearly a year ago. At that time, he requested that we build the site on NationBuilder, which is a web platform available specifically for political candidates and causes.

The development experience of NationBuilder reminded me of working with something like SquareSpace. These are great for teams that just want to get a website up and running using a strict template with little control over design. But it’s a challenge to get these things to look right outside of the consigned limitations of the platform and template. The level of customization we wanted for this website was achievable, but it took some serious hacking around the core code of NationBuilder.

That made me a little nervous, so we proposed rebuilding the website on trusty old WordPress. Since the design work had been completed on the original version of this website, I was able to get this new version up and running really quickly. Switching to WordPress also gave us the same level of customization and flexibility that we are used to — something that we did not have with the NationBuilder website.

Danner for NebraskaSwitching to WordPress gave us more flexibility. Spencer wanted a sign-up form front and center.

In comparison to managing and hosting a WordPress website, NationBuilder is very expensive. The Danner campaign felt they were not getting enough value from the NationBuilder website for how much it cost them each month. I’ve been around political campaigns since I was in diapers, and one universal truth in all campaigns is that every single penny needs to go to something useful. Switching from NationBuilder to WordPress made a lot of sense in this regard. I strongly believe when we rebuilt the site on WordPress, we gave them a more valuable asset in respect to functionality and overall cost of fees and management. Plus we were able to just hand it off to the campaign, and they have been able to manage it and add content as they please.

With some of these technical and budgetary hurdles cleared, we provided the Danner campaign with a more streamlined tool to showcase Spencer’s platform. While Spencer has been out campaigning to the public about the importance of protecting and enhancing voting for Nebraskans, this website has been a place for the public to learn more about his platform.

This new version of the website gave Spencer a more dynamic space to show off who he is and what he stands for.

As the Danner campaign winds down with the election coming up, it seems like a great time to reflect on how Spencer Danner’s platform aligns with Oxide’s work on civic design and election design. The Nebraska Secretary of State serves as our chief election officer. A highlight of Spencer’s campaign to become Nebraska’s Secretary of State is his desire to make voting simpler and more accessible for all eligible Nebraska residents.

It’s also a great time to remind people to vote. Election Day is November 6th. It may be too late for you to register to vote in this election, but there’s always next time, so get yourself down to your local election office to register. Or do it online. Our democracy works best when more of us vote. Check where your polling place is here.