OASIS Begins Work on Election Markup Language

If this works out, open-source fans would have a worthy achievement to cheer
after the 2000 election recount debacle in Florida.

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards
(OASIS), a non-profit XML interoperability consortium, this week put the
finishing touches on a technical committee to standardize the exchange of
election and voter services information using XML.

Succinctly titled Election Markup Language, the standard, when hashed out by
the new OASIS
Election and Voter Services Technical Committee
, would guide such data
as voter registration and ballots safely among hardware, software and

The OASIS specification will also support private elections, such as those
held by publicly traded corporations, trade associations, labor unions,
pension funds, credit unions and not-for-profit organizations.

The importance of such a standard development language is underscored by the
50-odd luminous technology companies who have offered their support,
including IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Also, Accenture, election.com and Microsoft are founding sponsor members of
the new group. OASIS also said governmental and non-governmental
organizations around the world will also participate, providing expert input
and analysis on election technology and procedures.

Karl Best, OASIS director of technical operations, said that although there
are other automated election services around the world, EML, like Java,
would be open and would operate cross-platform to benefit vendors.

“Voters and taxpayers around the world will benefit from open standard
election solutions that save money, increase auditability and most
importantly, safeguard the sanctity of every vote,” Gregg McGilvray of
election.com, chair of the new OASIS Election and Voter Services Technical

The development work will include voter registration, dues collection,
change of address tracking, citizen/membership credentialing, redistricting,
requests for absentee/expatriate ballots, election calendaring, polling
place management, election notification, ballot delivery and tabulation,
election results reporting and demographics.

Spokesperson Carol Geyer said OASIS would work on a draft of the EML
standard over the next 6 months and would meet on EML officially three
months later.

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