OSET Foundation and Amazon Web Services Work Together to Advance Cloud-Based Election Administration Innovations

Feb 10, 2016, 08:00 ET from Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- 2016 NASS Conference - The non-profit technology research institute Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation today announced that it is collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) on the Foundation's TrustTheVote Project.  The project is an open source initiative that makes the software used to run elections free to the States and counties managing elections. OSET and AWS are working together on thought leadership and outreach to champion the cause with decision-makers and researchers also working to improve elections. The cloud-driven open source approach means that anyone can adopt and adapt OSETs existing apps for voter services, like online registration and results reporting, and launch these apps and services faster and more cost effectively.  With the open source nature of the tools, modification and improvement is possible by anyone.

Finding ways to innovate the critical infrastructure of elections administration is imperative. In 2014 the US had 178,636 election precincts and over 114,000 physical polling places spread out over 7000 Election Jurisdictions in all 50 states and 3,143 Counties. Elections occur every week, including primaries, ballot initiatives, and voter referenda. American University estimated that there were 519,682 elected officials United States in 2012. A study released in September 2015 by the Brennan Center for Justice revealed that the vast majority of the nation is relying on archaic voting technology with severely limited budgets to make any improvements to either elections administration tools or voting machinery. 

OSET launched the TrustTheVote Project to foster innovation in elections technology, which is outdated, difficult to maintain, and in the case of voting machinery, relies on proprietary software that's difficult to inspect or audit.  The administration tools project is run on AWS's GovCloud (US), because it offers a cost effective, secure, compliant, and scalable solution that doesn't require buying hardware, and can be delivered easily anywhere in the country. OSET's TrustTheVote Project so far includes software for handling voter registration services, ballot generation, and election results reporting.

The OSET Foundation's goal is to improve the critical infrastructure that makes fair and verifiable elections possible and help revitalize an industry that needs innovation.  "Cloud technology combined with open data, open standards, and open source development has the potential to be a game-changer in election administration," said Teresa Carlson, VP, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, Inc. "The OSET Foundation is taking advantage of the cloud's ability to help lower costs, while increasing innovation in voter registration services, creating ballots, and reporting election results."  Gregory Miller, Chief Development Officer for the OSET Foundation explained, "There are several aspects of managing elections that can be innovated. There is enormous opportunity to innovate the many aspects of managing election processes."

AWS is supporting OSET with cloud computing credits, and elections administration software will be available on AWS Marketplace, and helping with outreach to elections officials. "Now on the AWS GovCloud (US), the TrustTheVote Project technology can be developed, demonstrated, and proven for any State or county looking to rapidly deploy election administration services, while gaining the agility, cost savings, compliance, and scalability offered by the AWS Cloud," said John Sebes, Chief Technology Officer for the OSET Foundation.

For example, the TrustTheVote Project offers open source online voter registration and services portal software for any State or county to use for a fraction of the cost of building such web services from the ground up.  "We are thrilled to host this technology on the AWS Cloud to further our open source efforts to innovate election administration in the digital age for the benefit of the public," added Miller.  "Cloud-based voter registration, ballot design, and elections results reporting is an ideal start to lowering costs and improving the public trust in our democracy. I anticipate this is the beginning of a unique collaboration to help develop new elections technology for the public benefit."

About the OSET Foundation
The Open Source Election Technology ("OSET") Foundation is a 9-year old tax-exempt 501.c.3 non-profit technology research and development institute located in the heart of the Silicon Valley focused on electoral innovation.  OSET is led by a team of social entrepreneurs comprised of seasoned technologists with extensive hardware, software, and systems design experience from leading Tech Sector companies including Apple, Netscape, Facebook, and Sun Microsystems.  OSET is focused on making voting systems more verifiable, accurate, secure, and transparent using open source principles to treat this technology as "critical democracy infrastructure."  The OSET mission is to reinvent voting technology using open data, open standards, and open source in order to increase confidence in elections and their outcomes, and improve voter participation.  The outcome of that mission will deliver lower cost higher quality publicly owned election technology and rejuvenate the commercial industry to deliver, deploy, service, and support resulting democratic voting systems globally.


SOURCE Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation