I hope Michael is able to post more about interoperability standards for state voter registration files. This touches upon a number of important issues in election reform, and I can think of only one potential fly in the ointment.
- Data exchange standards would make it far easier for states to help check the accuracy of their rolls, particularly with close by states and, as Secretary Ritchie points out, in metropolitan areas that cross state boundaries.
- Efforts to create data archives of election returns, voting technology, and voter registration information, following some of the proposals made at the Data for Democracy gathering, would be substantially eased if some sort of data exchange standards were established.
- The EAC Election Administration and Election Day survey would have far higher response rates and would be a far more valuable instrument to the states and to the federal government if states could use some sort of electronic “drop box” to respond to many of the items in the survey. If voter registration files could be output in some sort of standardized format, then writing a script to convert that format into the data elements needed in the EAC survey would be straightforward.
Some of these efforts may already be underway as part of the EAC Pilot program. The NAS Voter Registration report urges interoperability standards, and if you look in their footnotes, Neil McClure of Hart/InterCivic has issued a preliminary standard.
This train may finally get moving after the 2008 election, and I’m excited to see this move forward.