What is the need for the Election Markup Language (EML)?
With the increase in use of electronic voting techniques around the world, the OASIS Election and Voter Services TC strives to develop a standard for the structured interchange between different hardware, software, and service providers who interact in any aspect of electronic voting delivery to public or private organizations. The Election Markup Language (EML) documentation provides a high-level overview of the processes within a generic e-voting system. It describes the data requirements of the flows between e-voting processes and also addresses security issues relating to the exchange of data, and provides a glossary of terms to ensure a full understanding by readers of the document. Finally, it provides XML schemas for the various data interchange points between the e-voting processes.
Who should be involved in this development?
Interested parties such as governments and e-voting systems suppliers involved in the implementation and standardization of electronic elections systems should take an active role in the development of EML.
Who will benefit from this work and how?
Many people will gain from EML, including:
officials charged with running voting in a local and national public or private elections and referendums, as they will have more choice of suppliers and an assurance that all products work to the same standard;
suppliers of e-voting systems, who will be able to reduce their development costs because of standardization;
voters, who will benefit from a more consistent approach across different elections.
How does this work compare with related efforts at other standards organizations?
The work of the OASIS Election and Voter Services TC is unique in its field in terms of its breadth and depth of scope, ie being a global standard for public and private elections and referendums. In one specific area, that being the use of DRE voting machines in public elections in the USA, we are harmonising our efforts with the work of the IEEE’s P1622 committee.
When will EML be completed?
e-Voting is a new concept, and take-up will be slow for several years as politicians and officials wrestle with the many legal and security issues that arise from its introduction. This makes completion of the specification very difficult, because until there is a good base of actual usage, it cannot be guaranteed to support all types of elections. Therefore, EML will continue to evolve in the light of practical pilots and experiments. Having said that considerable efforts have been made to canvass and review current voting regimes around the globe and ensure EML meets their requirements by building in flexibility and extensibility into the EML schemas.
Also the EAC's Technical Guidelines Development Committee is considering EML and the IEEE P1622 standard as possible solutions for wider adoption in USA elections. See http://www.vote.nist.gov/ for further details.