Since its inception in 2008, the Voting Information Project (VIP) has become the most comprehensive source for election information from across the country. The project standardizes election data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to make it usable across platforms and applications and ultimately more accessible to voters. As VIP has evolved, so has its data specification—a standard format that ensures consistency in collection and dissemination—and in September, VIP announced a new specification, VIP 5.0 that gives the aggregated data a more detailed structure.
Among the improvements in VIP 5.0 are
- Detailed guidance for election officials on which information they should input, such as polling place hours.
- Incorporation of elements from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s voting specification.
- New features, including precinct-specific ballot styles.
The results will be fewer errors, faster processing, and a more intuitive and streamlined format that is more closely aligned with how election officials think about data.
VIP anticipates beginning to receive and process data in the 5.0 specification by the end of 2015 and is committed to providing states with the support they need to make the transition. Additionally, VIP will continue to support its most recent version, VIP 3.0, indefinitely.
VIP, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts, is a partnership with the states and Google to ensure that American voters have the official information they need to cast a ballot, such as where to vote and what’s on the ballot. VIP’s election information was accessed more than 31 million times during the 2014 general election.