Creating an API Standard for Election Administration Systems to Strengthen U.S. Democracy
To bring nationwide access to voter tools, the Biden-Harris administration should direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish a standard application programming interface (API) for election administration systems.
Our democracy is most representative when the greatest number of Americans vote, but access is hindered by manual, form-based operations that make it difficult for citizens to register to vote or access a ballot. As Americans faced a global pandemic and an overwhelmed postal service, the 2020 election amplified the importance of digital tools for voters to register, apply for absentee ballots, and track their ballot status. It also highlighted the deficiencies in (or lack of) these capabilities from locality to locality. Further, state legislatures have begun passing sweeping voter suppression measures that further limit ballot access.
With the next federal election rapidly approaching in 2022, the time to take steps at the federal level to expand voting access is now. While proposed legislation would mandate making these functions available online, without incentives or standards, these tools would remain available only on local government websites, which suffer from discoverability and usability hurdles. Creating a standard API for election administration systems will enable civic groups and other outside organizations to create consistent, discoverable and innovative nationwide voter tools that interoperate directly with local voter rolls, resulting in a more participatory electorate and a stronger, more representative democracy.
Good data is a critical component of delivering effective government services from local to federal levels. But now, too much useful data lives in a silo.
The authors propose that the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse convene government actors, civil society organizations, and industry representatives to create an Anti-Online Harassment (AOH) Hub to improve and standardize responses to online harassment and to provide evidence-based recommendations to the Task Force.
If the 118th Congress decides to reauthorize the ESRA, ALI urges the HELP committee to strengthen our education system by prioritizing the following policies.
A large portion of gig workers are people of color, and the nature of their temporary and largely unregulated work can leave them vulnerable to economic instability and workplace abuse. To increase protections for fair work, the Department of Labor should create an Office of the Ombudsman for Fair Work.