About Open Source Election Technology

Has a nice sound, doesn’t it?  But it’s more than just a sound bite.  Its real stuff people can see, touch, and try.  And here is why.

The OSET Institute is all about making elections software technology publicly available in order to increase verification, accuracy, security, and transparency (in process), and ensure that ballots are counted as cast.  The work is all about integrity in elections.

The OSET Institute was established in November 2006 by a couple of concerned technologists in the Silicon Valley as a California non-profit corporation dedicated to the public benefit.  Originally, and until 2013 the organization was known legally as the Open Source Digital Voting (“OSDV”) Foundation and its name evolved in October 2013 following the IRS final determination of our tax-exempt status after a record-breaking six (6) year prosecution of our status application.  Foundation is now becoming "Institute" to reflect the reality that we are focused on education, development and research of election technology innovation (and actually, we are not a grant making organization.)  You can learn some more about our history here.

About Our Mission

The mission of OSET, a nonprofit election technology research institute, is to increase confidence in elections and their outcomes in order to preserve the operational continuity of democracy worldwide, and because everyone deserves a better voting experience.  These principles guide our work.

The result, ElectOS, is emerging as a Framework of public election technology freely available for any jurisdiction to adopt, adapt, and deploy forelections.  

We use the principles of open source development and high assurance systems in a meritocratic environment at the TrustTheVote Project.  

This is an imperative project to ensure integrity and restore trust in our public elections, and reduce if not eliminate the troubles with voting machinery.  

Here’s the thing: The means by which we cast and count our ballots is tantamount to "critical democracy infrastructure" and as such cannot be a black box.  And success of this project can restore trust in how America votes.

About Our Organization

The OSET Foundation is a California non-profit corporation exempt from Federal income taxation under IRC Section 501(c)(3).  A Board of Directors governs the Foundation.

Board of Directors


  • Adam Ambrogi, Democracy Fund
  • Chris Barr, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Deborah Bryant, Redhat
  • Aneesh Chopra, Former U.S. CTO; NavHealth
  • Dr. Taher Elgamal, SalesForce.com
  • Joseph Hall, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Phil Keisling, Former Oregon State Secretary
  • Doug Maughan, DHS Cybersecurity Directorate
  • Lenny Mendonca, Former McKinsey & Co., Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
  • Simon Rosenberg, NDN.org
  • Barbara Simons, Former IBM
  • Stephanie Singer, Former City Commissioner, Philadelphia, PA
  • Heather Smith, Rock The Vote
  • Bryan Sivak, Former CTO, DHHS
  • Cameron Quinn, Former Registrar Fairfax County, VA
  • David Webber, Oracle

A Stakeholder community comprised of a number of different constituent categories guides our work.  The majority of stakeholders are state and local elections officials—those who stand to directly benefit from the results of our work.  

We utilize a process equivalent to that of the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) called “Request for Comments” (or “RFC”).  We maintain an RFC Library online and this serves as our primary communications means with our stakeholders. Here is an example RFC.  Stakeholders (or anyone) can read, review, and comment on our design work and help us refine and tune it to their exacting specifications.

More information can be found in our Public Documents section of this site.  And more information is available on our Brief History section and in our Public Relations section.