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NIST Election Results Reporting XML Common Data Format Specification

As part of its voting program, NIST has the goal of creating an XML-based common data format (CDF) for election systems. A CDF will facilitate interoperability among voting devices and certain types of automated testing. Election officials desire that interoperability of data will increase choice of voting equipment, will make possible component certification, and will significantly ease current difficulties in interfacing voting devices to external entities such as voter registration databases and reporting outlets. Manufacturers competing in an international business environment desire a CDF that works in international environments as well as the U.S.

NIST is now developing a specification for election results reporting. The format, known as the NIST ElectionResultsReporting CDF, is comprehensive and detailed in its coverage of election results data and at the same time very flexible, able to accommodate most/all election scenarios used throughout the U.S. It can be used as a common export format across different manufacturer brands of voting systems and across U.S. jurisdictions, states, and territories for reporting election results and other related election data. The specification was written primarily so that manufacturers of election management systems (EMS) and election jurisdictions could then implement it in their systems and databases. By doing so, the election data can be imported or exported among different manufacturer devices, thereby increasing interoperability among the devices and reducing the need to create software to translate between different proprietary formats.

The specification is being readied for public review. Draft material is available at:

For further information, please consult the contact information below:

Contact: john.wack [at] (John P. Wack)
Information Technology Laboratory
100 Bureau Drive Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8970
301-975-3411 Office

Created February 8, 2012, Updated June 2, 2021