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Subject: The Future of EML

In my recent work involving EML, it has been clear that the clarity and
consistency of the specification are suffering badly from the effects of its
continued evolution. Some years ago, I suggested building a proper data
model, but this was turned down on cost grounds.

Typical of the issues I am now finding is that the 330, which was originally
intended to supply a list of electors for the purpose of voting,  has
evolved to cover most areas where such a list is required. For example, in
the UK, it is being used to provide a list of electors to credit reference
agencies. This means it is duplicating the 120 message, and I am being asked
which should be used. If there is this confusion, it will lead to
inconsistent implementations. Now I am being asked for similar features in
the 230. It seems logical to remove the 120 and expand the 230, 330 and 630
to cover its functions.

This is just one example. I believe that a thorough review of the schemas,
including the development of a data model, would help clarify many points
and help with consistency of implementation. Since the ISO process is not
one to be taken lightly, I would like to see it done before submission. I
currently worry about the feedback we will get if other experts look at the
current version in detail.

Why can't we just get on and do this work? Because, in spite of the presence
on the TC of several large companies working in the multi-billion dollar
voting industry, most of the technical work is being left to two individuals
who receive no payment. Is it not time for some of the big companies either
to allow some staff to work on this or put up some money so that the current
volunteers can do a decent job?

We should be able to get EML up to the standards of UBL and other
specifications that have had significant resource thrown at them. If not, it
reflects badly on the industry and will end up costing people more as
interoperability becomes harder to manage.


Paul Spencer
Boynings Consulting Ltd

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