And now it is time to review the web sites for the candidates running for Sheriff in Orange County. (See the first in this series of web site reviews here.) Since there are only three candidates I was able to look at these sites at the same time and do more of a comparison between the three.
Buddy Parker, Republican candidate for Sheriff - http://voteparker4sheriff.com
Aesthetically, the website is fairly dull, featuring a brown border and mostly white with two moving flags in the right and left corners, and North Carolina and United Sates flags. These images look like clip art from Microsoft Word. The website is basic, all the way down to the Times New Roman font. The website is also not up to date with new social media. There are no connections to Facebook or Twitter like the other two sites. One of the major purposes for these websites are for potential voters to be able to support and contact the candidate. This website makes it difficult to do that. There is only an email address and a phone number. There is no place on the site to fill out information and it does not directly link to email. It would be nice if there was a PayPal function to donate, like some of the County Commissioner websites have. Another portion I had a problem with was the "Qualifications" section.
This is all it says:
Certified background investigator
General and specialized instructor (firearms)
It would be great if he had his resume on the website to show his qualifications. Another thing I wish he included was the specific issues he was taking a stand on. The website just does not have enough information. What does Parker want to change in Orange County?
One of the good things about his website is it does show the events he is going to be attending. But, to keep up with the other candidates his website needs a little sprucing up. I just think if you want people to take the time to go out and vote, your website should show you put more time into it than this one.
Lindy Pendergrass, Democratic incumbent for Sheriff - http://www.reelectpendergrass.org
His website is way more up to date than Parker’s website.The website pops out with the blue and orange color scheme (even though it screams UVA to me). At least he used the Orange since he is running for Sheriff of Orange County.
“Responsive Accountable Professional Law Enforcement.” He takes a very serious approach right off the bat on the homepage of the website. I think this shows he is very serious about his stance for re-election as Sheriff of Orange County. For example, if I want to compare Parker and Pendergrass’s qualifications, I click to learn more about Pendergrass and see just under “Law Enforcement Experience":
Chapel Hill Police Department from 1957 until December 1982. Served as a Patrol Officer from 1957 until 1963. Promoted to Patrol Sergeant 1963. Promoted to Investigator Sergeant Supervisor of Investigations 1967. Promoted to Lieutenant Supervisor of Investigations in 1967. Promoted to Captain of Investigators in 1972. Promoted to Major in 1982. Elected Sheriff of Orange County 1982. Member of North Carolina Sheriffs Training and Standards for past 21 years. Chairman of North Carolina Sheriff's Training and Standards for 4 years
He also includes a specific section dedicated to the issues: Project Lifesaver, Technology, K9/Drug Response, and Emergency Response. What I really like about Pendergrass’s website is the “Take Action” tab. He has a link to the Orange County Voter Registration website. This is a great way to encourage people not only to vote for him, but to get involved and vote. Such an easy way to click and sign up. Pendergrass also has a link to Facebook. His website also has a way to get involved that is similar to Parker’s website. He tells readers how to send checks and do yard signs, but does not accrpt online donations. That convenience make may make people more inclined to donate. That is one thing I think is missing from Pendergrass’s website.
Clarence Birkhead, Democratic candidate for Sheriff - http://clarencebirkhead.com
“Progressive, Professional and Prepared to Lead.” Birkhead cuts right to the chase. The homepage of his website addresses why he decided to run for sheriff, his vision for the Orange County’s Sheriff’s office, and the controversial topic of discussion, why he decided to leave Hillsborough Police Department. "I resigned as Hillsborough Police Chief, effective April 2, to devote my time and energy to seeking the office of Sheriff of Orange County. The pursuit of change is an important challenge and requires effort and focus. I could not adequately serve the citizens of Hillsborough and diligently pursue the office of Sheriff at the same time.”
I like the colors of the website with the tan and blue and accents of dark brown and white. His website looks very professional and is easy to navigate. I also like the right side bar with events, news, and ways to donate. There are links to Facebook and LinkedIn right on the homepage. I think this is a great touch and shows what is important. Getting voters to donate and get involved, and other ways to link to the candidate is key.
Another section I thought was important to reach out to voters was the issues and answers tab. It is almost like he is participating in a public forum on his website page. It is also simple to donate on his website, there is a form you can fill out and submit right on the page. There is also a join us box to submit your email address and receive campaign updates. Overall, I think Birkhead has the strongest website. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing but it is easy to use and includes a plethora of information. Everything you want to know about Clarence Birkhead is on his website.