Standards > Plain language

Plain language

Communications is about educating voters and building public trust in elections. While the ways to reach voters have grown, communication remains central to helping voters navigate the election process. From special media requests to everyday interactions that answer voters’ questions, all election offices play an important role in this work. This is one of six standards that define excellence in communications. This draft standard will be updated based on feedback from the election community.


Your election office writes and speaks in a way that allows voters to easily find, understand, and use the information they need. To achieve this standard:

  • Your public materials have a clear purpose that voters can easily identify.
  • You use language that speaks directly to voters: it is in active voice, uses simple words and sentences, and defines jargon.
  • You test public materials with your audience to ensure they meet their intended purpose and are appropriate for your community.

Why this standard matters

It is important that we are explicit about the underlying why for each standard. While not attached to measurements, the intended impact of an election department achieving this standard is that:

  • Voters with some disabilities can understand information in plain language more easily.
  • Voters can participate in elections more easily with the information your office provides.
  • All voters can understand materials that your office provides.

Let us know what you think!