An announcement from OASIS describes the proposal for a new OASIS Technical Committee on Election and Voter Services. The TC has been proposed by Gregg McGilvray (election.com, chair), Oliver Bell (Microsoft), and Ed McLaughlin (Accenture). The purpose of the committee is to "develop a standard for the structured interchange of data among hardware, software, and service providers who engage in any aspect of providing election or voter services to public or private organizations. The services performed for such elections include but are not limited to voter role/membership maintenance (new voter registration, membership and dues collection, change of address tracking, etc.), citizen/membership credentialing, redistricting, requests for absentee/expatriate ballots, election calendaring, logistics management (polling place management), election notification, ballot delivery and tabulation, election results reporting and demographics. The standard under development by election.com, Inc. will be made available for review and revision and can be expanded upon as necessary." Election Services in this context is defined to mean "any components needed to conduct a private or public election. Private elections are conducted for publicly traded corporations, trade associations, labor unions, pension funds, credit unions, not-for-profit organizations, etc. Public elections are conducted domestically and internationally for municipalities, governments, jurisdictions, special districts and any other group wishing to solicit public opinion. The services performed for all such elections include but are not limited to voter role/membership maintenance (new voter registration, membership and dues collection, change of address tracking, etc.), citizen/membership credentialing, redistricting, requests for absentee/expatriate ballots, election calendaring, logistics management (polling place management), election notification, ballot delivery and tabulation, election results reporting and demographics."
From the proposal:
Need: This standard will facilitate interoperability among various suppliers of election hardware, software, and services. It is recognized that there are many players in the field employing different levels of automation. Those functional areas not automated can be more easily automated if a common way of doing business existed. The functional areas that are automated operate on many different platforms employing different architectures, some of which have never done data interchange, especially with unlike environments. The need to have a consistent, auditable, automated election system has been evidenced in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election and this need is also pervasive worldwide, especially in developing democracies. New global election processes are being developed, and voting procedures and voting cultures must be incorporated into these processes. There must be a uniform way to allow existing systems to interact with other systems as these new processes evolve and are adopted.
Solution: The solution is to create a standard based on XML that will provide all the intercommunication needs for this industry. XML is an excellent choice for several reasons. XML is sponsored by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international standards body supported by many of the major hardware and software vendors. XML is an emerging standard based on a mature standard, SGML. SGML has given rise to HTML, a widely used and understood Internet technology. XML is text based, which means that a vast number of devices and software components can use it. XML encourages groups and industries to form common interchange standards using easy-to- understand tools. Lastly XML is flexible and allows for modifications to be proposed and made during the course of time. This will allow the industry to evolve separately from the technology. Election needs will drive the evolutionary process and not be a result of the technology employed.
- Announcement: "OASIS Technical Committee Call for Participation: Election and Voter Services." [source]
- Election and Voter Services TC
- OASIS TC Process
- OASIS Technical Committees
- 'election-services' mailing list and list archives
- Announcement 2001-05-03.
- See: "Election Markup Language (EML)" - Main reference page.
- See: "XML and Voting (Ballots, Elections, Polls)" - Main reference page.