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CoE Ministers Approve Recommendation on E-Voting

First Legal Recommendation on E-Voting Adopted by Council of Europe Committee of Ministers

Strasbourg, France. September 30, 2004.

The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers today agreed the first international legal text on e-voting in elections and referendums.

The recommendation sets out a blueprint for governments planning to use new technologies for future elections and referendums. It is based on experience gathered by the Council of Europe through pilot projects in several member states and know-how collected from legal and technical experts from nearly all 45 member states.

The legal and technical guidelines of the Council of Europe indicate how to build, run and supervise e-voting systems to ensure that results are as reliable as those delivered by traditional paper-based methods. The Council's recommendation emphasises the need for new voting methods to meet the principles of universal and equal suffrage, free and secret ballots and for the systems to be secure, transparent and accountable. It covers issues such as electoral lists, information to voters and vote counting.

The text of the Recommendation will be available soon at

[Note: the text of the Recommendation specifies that the OASIS Election Markup Language (EML) be used when possible:

"Open standards shall be used to ensure that the various technical components or services of an e-voting system, possibly derived from a variety of sources, interoperate. At present, the Election Markup Language (EML) standard is such an open standard and in order to guarantee interoperability, EML shall be used whenever possible for e-election and e-referendum applications. The decision of when to adopt EML is a matter for member states. The EML standard valid at the time of adoption of this recommendation, and supporting documentation are available on the Council of Europe website. In cases which imply specific election or referendum data requirements, a localisation procedure shall be used to accommodate these needs. This would allow for extending or restricting the information to be provided, whilst still remaining compatible with the generic version of EML. The recommended procedure is to use structured schema languages and pattern languages..."]

Press Contact

Council of Europe Spokesperson and Press Division
Tel: +33 3 88 41 25 60
Fax: +33 3 88 41 39 11


Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See details in the news story "Election Markup Language (EML) Recommended to Member States by Council of Europe."

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