Interoperability is the extent to which systems from different manufacturers and devices with different system configurations can communicate with each other. Past election equipment generally used proprietary data formats, thus a device from one manufacturer would not "talk" directly to another device from another manufacturer. To transmit voter data from, say, a database to a manufacturer’s election management system, software might have to be written to reformat the data from the database into the manufacturer’s format. Building the software may be complex and difficult. This can have the effect of "locking" states and localities into using the same configuration of manufacturer equipment they have invested in, because it's too much trouble and expense to move to something newer or more desirable and appropriate. A common data format changes all of this and leads to greater interoperability among devices and manufacturers.
NIST has developed common data formats (CDF) for election data to make voting data and ultimately voting equipment interoperable. The development work is conducted within public working groups, formed as needed and composed of election officials, manufacturers, election analysts, and the public. The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) requires that EAC-certified voting systems be capable of using the CDFs for data imports and exports where applicable. The VIP (Voting Information Project) format, supported by Google, is consistent with the NIST CDFs in naming and usage of data items for pre- and post-election data and results.
<ContestName>2024 Presidential, State of West Virginia</ContestName>
<CandidateName>John J. Jones</CandidateName>
For additional overview information, see an Introduction to the CDF project.
There are currently four CDF specifications completed, each located in its own GitHub repository.
CDF development also makes use of the following specifications:
For more information, please contact Lisa Carnahan.