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Recommendations for Voting System Interoperability



John Dziurłaj, Benjamin Long


There is currently no common data format for ballot styles and associated use-cases. This white paper investigates this and other potential interoperability gaps within the voting system in a holistic manner, by considering previous voting interoperability work and how it fits within thirteen key functions of a voting system. Gap analysis is performed by identifying data flows that cross functions, functions that might cross component boundaries and thus may significantly benefit from common data interfaces. Each data flow identified as significant for interoperability is treated in detail, describing the potential benefits of supporting interoperable interfaces in voting system components and a roadmap to their development. The gap analysis shows lack of support for data flows that involve ballot data, particularly ballot styles. These gaps preclude effective componentization of voting system devices such as ballot marking devices, election management systems and scanners. Identified solutions include standardization of ballot components, such as barcodes, and development of a ballot styles common data format.
Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR) - NIST GCR 22-034
Report Number
NIST GCR 22-034


Ballot printing systems, Ballot scanners, Common data format, Electronic poll books, Election technology, Interoperability, Voting systems.


Dziurłaj, J. and Long, B. (2022), Recommendations for Voting System Interoperability, Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 17, 2024)


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Created August 1, 2022, Updated November 14, 2023