Updates > Values and Standards for Election Excellence: Finding a North Star for U.S. Election Administration

Values and Standards for Election Excellence: Finding a North Star for U.S. Election Administration

There are thousands of local election departments across the country that are responsible for administering elections, and when they don’t have what they need, voters and our democracy pay the price. Where other efforts might fall short, the Alliance and our nonpartisan programs are filling the gap to support election departments in delivering excellent elections to American voters. 

And we’re kicking off this collaborative work with nonpartisan values –  our “why”  – as the guiding lights for a path forward. These values represent more than a year of collaboration between election officials, designers, technologists, and other experts who are committed to improving election operations. The values of the Alliance define our shared vision for the way election departments across the country can aspire to excellence. These values will help us navigate the challenges of delivering successful elections and maintaining our healthy democracy. 

The Alliance is committed to:

  • High Integrity
  • Comprehensive Preparedness
  • Voter-Centricity
  • Proactive Transparency
  • Continuous Improvement

What to expect from the Alliance on the path ahead

Beginning in the fall of 2023 and going through 2024, we’ll build upon the values by sharing sets of voluntary, nonpartisan draft standards for local election departments. The standards will, for the first time, explicitly define excellent U.S. election administration. In addition to being nonpartisan and voluntary, they will be practical and ambitious.

The standards will cover common responsibilities managed by local election departments across the country, and we’ll begin with the topic of poll workers. Moving forward, rolling standards releases will include other important topics like communications and security. The standards will not be scoped for state election departments nor will they include technical requirements for election systems. 

When the standards are published in 2023 and 2024, election departments and interested members of the public will have the opportunity to give feedback. Standards will be updated based on the public feedback and, once they are stable, election departments will be able to pursue achieving the standards and becoming Certified Centers for Election Excellence.

To help election departments become certified, the Alliance will publish nonpartisan resources – generic tools, templates, training courses, and workbooks that any election department can use to improve their operations. In addition to generic resources, where permitted, the Alliance will offer implementation grants for eligible election departments that pledge to pursue certification.

After the 2024 General Election, the Alliance will launch its certification program that will recognize election departments’ performance alongside the standards. For election departments that successfully meet the standards, the Alliance will award a public designation.