Updates > U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence Releases Voluntary, Nonpartisan Communications Standard for Public Comment

U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence Releases Voluntary, Nonpartisan Communications Standard for Public Comment

CHICAGO – The nonpartisan U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, a collaborative that is working on a voluntary, nonpartisan set of standards designed by election officials to ensure that local election officials are following best practices in areas like poll workers, security and communications, has released its second set of standards – focusing on communications –  for public comment.

The Alliance communications standards were developed based on feedback from nearly 50 election departments that serve 30.5 million voters. The departments range in size from serving 988 voters to as many as 4.7 million voters. 

“I’m proud that these communications standards can help jurisdictions large and small improve how they communicate with their voters and look forward to hearing feedback from the election community about them,” said Tiana Epps-Johnson, founder and executive director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life. “These communications standards couldn’t be more timely for local election officials who are being asked to serve as content creators that push out a huge volume of information to their voters, often in multiple languages.”

“Many election officials often do several different jobs at once in high-pressure environments and often lack dedicated communications support, especially in smaller jurisdictions. These standards are a great resource that illustrates how to break through the noise in a challenging environment,” said Alton Dilliard, former Denver Clerk and Recorder spokesman. “These draft standards will be especially valuable in helping election officials launch their communications operations as a new wave of election officials enter the field.”

A recent survey of election officials by Reed College found misinformation is a serious problem in election departments. Excellence in communications is a key way election departments build and maintain trust with voters.

The communications standards define excellence in communications by focusing on six focus areas: plain language, information design, language access, voter communications, community relationships and media relationships. Key recommendations of the communications standards include:

Plain Language

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

Information Design

Your election office uses design and accessibility best practices to format information so it is easy to find, understand, and use.

Language Access 

Your election office understands your voters’ language needs and prioritizes their preferred languages, dialects, and communication modes.  

Voter Communications

Your election office effectively distributes information through a variety of mediums that best reach your voters.  

Community Relationships

Your election office builds and maintains strong relationships in your community that foster trust in the election process.

Media Relationships

Your election office proactively builds and maintains relationships with members of the media to communicate accurate election information. 

View more about the standard on the Alliance website.

The election community is invited to share feedback on the standards here. The deadline for feedback is May 15. Previously the alliance released a set of poll worker standards for public comment, and a set of values that guides the collaborative’s work.

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence is a nonpartisan collaborative that is bringing together election officials, designers, technologists, and other experts to envision, support, and celebrate excellence in U.S. election administration. The collaborative is led by the Center for Tech and Civic Life.

Feb. 21, 2024