What’s an RFC?

A TrustTheVote Project Request For Comment is authored by engineers and computer scientists in the form of a memorandum describing methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of a particular component of an elections administration or voting system. It is submitted either for peer review or to convey new concepts or information.

The TrustTheVote Project adopts some of the proposals published as RFCs as proposed draft elections technology standards. The TrustTheVote Project RFC process is modeled closely after the Internet Engineering Task Force’s RFC system through the gracious encouragement of Steve Crocker, the inventor of the original RFC process and service.

RFC Types

Current TrustTheVote Project RFC types include:

  • White Papers on election technology, including but not limited to: administration, voter registration and information services, and voting systems (e.g., ballot marking, casting, counting, and tabulation.)
  • Requirements Documents for specific election technology components (e.g., voter registration tools, ballot marking devices, digital poll books, etc.)
  • Data Format Definitions (e.g., the digital representation of a voter record or a ballot).
  • Draft Proposals for how to define or design components, software, or data interchange.

The RFC Process

The RFC Process is simple:

  1. We talk with Election Official Stakeholders about their election technology needs.
  2. We crystallize a specific need or needs (aka “requirements”) in a document.
  3. We issue that document as a “Request for Comment” by publishing it online.
  4. We solicit comments from Stakeholders or any member of the public for a period of time before closing comments, incorporate them into the document, and revising the RFC for publication.

And in so doing, we make our best effort to adhere to a meritocratic process.