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Common Data Format Research Group

The NIST Voting Program has created a research group dedicated to the research and development of common election data format (CDF) needs across the elections domain. Previously, from 2015 to 2020, VVSG-specific public working groups were created and leveraged for the purpose of supporting VVSG 2.0 development activities with respect to VVSG 2.0 interoperability concerns. A number of CDF specifications came into being during this period.

After the VVSG 2.0 became approved and adopted by the EAC in early 2021, the VVSG-specific public working groups were closed. However, a number of CDF considerations remained in the elections arena even well beyond the scope covered by the VVSG itself. As a result, the CDF Research Group was formed to investigate and address these needs. The scope of work for this research group is not intended to be a forum for discussing prior or current questions pertaining to existing VVSG 2.0 requirements (which should be directed to the EAC at vvsg [at] eac.gov). Instead, it is intended to identify and fill gaps not covered by prior work while, where appropriate, incorporating previous work that can support these objectives with a wider scope than before, now looking at the entire elections domain.

The group has two primary focus areas; one narrower and one broader in scope. The work is organized into two subgroups, one for each area. The first subgroup studies CDF needs relative to ballot-styles. More information about these efforts may be found at the Common Data Format Ballot Styles Subgroup page. The second subgroup studies a number of use-cases involving common election data and data-formats that are not typically covered by the VVSG. More information about these efforts may be found at the Common Data Format Use Case Subgroup page.

The CDF Research Group will be holding an initial kick-off meeting to introduce these efforts to interested participants on April 21, 2021, at 12pm, EST.

Interested individuals may become involved in the following ways:

  • attend the CDF Research Group kick-off meeting;
  • contact the CDF Research Group chair for more information;
  • join and participate in a mailing list discussions and activities; or
  • participate in CDF use-case meetings.

To participate in these groups via the lists or meetings

  • read and abide by the rules of etiquette for interacting on lists and in meetings
  • join the emailing lists

The Common Data Research Group is being organized and lead by the Turnout in coordination with NIST and Prometheus Computing. As NIST designated representatives, they will lead and run the group on behalf of NIST.

For more information regarding these efforts, please feel free to contact:

  • John Dziurlaj, Chair of the Common Data Format Research Group and subgroups, at john [at] turnout.rocks
  • Lisa J. Carnahan, Voting Program Lead, at lisa.carnahan [at] nist.gov
Created April 6, 2021, Updated April 14, 2021