ERN and Civic Leader Partners Commend New Ethics Guidelines for Election Officials

February 23, 2024
Election Reformers Network

Election Reformers Network joins The Carter Center and Protect Democracy in commending the recently published ethics guidelines for election officials by the American Law Institute and the National Association of Election Officials (The Election Center).

The guidelines “reflect redoubled commitments to professional election administration as well as a strong and growing consensus across the election profession about the importance of procedural safeguards to protect impartiality,” according to civic leaders from The Carter Center, Election Reformers Network, and Protect Democracy.          

On Jan. 29, a working group convened by the American Law Institute issued “Ethical Standards for Election Administration.”    

And on Feb. 6, the National Association of Election Officials released new “Standards of Conduct for Election and Registration Officials.”    

Both documents provide detailed guidelines intended to help America’s election officials “uphold the highest standards of conduct in the execution of their duties,” according to the Election Center.

The guidelines have been issued at “a time of contentious debate about our voting system,” added the American Law Institute.    

Election officials in many states have experienced threats and harassment from people who reject recent election results despite confirmation of their accuracy from multiple court rulings, audits, and recounts.

“These standards provide an important framework for building trust among all voters in the heroic efforts of the stewards of our democracy, while also giving practical guidelines for officials who find themselves making tough decisions in an increasingly polarized country,” said Election Reformers Network Executive Director Kevin Johnson.    

“Election officials around the country are running accurate and trustworthy elections in the face of fiscal constraints, intimidation, and even threats of violence,” said Alexandra Chandler, head of National Election Advocacy Team and policy strategist at Protect Democracy. “These ethics codes both shine a light on the high ethical standards guiding so many election officials now through these challenges and provide support to election officials who are new to the profession or who are facing unprecedented outside pressure to compromise their impartiality. The American Law Institute bipartisan working group and Election Center have done the profession a great and timely service as we enter this pivotal election year.”

The two sets of standards differ somewhat in form and target audience, but both share many of the same core principles, including commitments to integrity; transparency; accuracy; the rule of law; avoiding perceived conflicts of interest; and treating all voters, candidates, and parties impartially.

“We are honored to have participated in this important effort through the involvement of Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander in the American Law Institute bipartisan working group,” said Carter Center Democracy Program Director David Carroll. “As election administrators across the country ramp up recruitment and training efforts for the 2024 general election cycle, the Election Center and American Law Institute documents serve as important models for incorporating a formal code or training on ethical standards of conduct into state and local election management practices. Such initiatives help to clearly set expectations for election officials and to reassure the American public that election officials take their commitment to the impartial, lawful, and ethical management of elections seriously.”

American election officials have long recognized the normative importance of administering elections professionally and impartially. Yet, election officials find themselves navigating an increasingly fraught landscape in today’s highly polarized political environment, one made more challenging at times because of the partisan context of election official selection in many states. The standards highlighted by the American Law Institute bipartisan working group and the Election Center provide excellent guidelines to codify how officials can operate ethically within the existing system, while in parallel new ideas can be explored to reduce some of these structural challenges.


The Carter Center, Election Reformers Network, and Protect Democracy are working together to bolster impartiality and public confidence in U.S. election administration.

Election Reformers Network (ERN) advances common-sense rules that protect elections from the country’s increasing polarization. A nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) organization, ERN was founded by election experts with extensive experience in the United States and overseas. Additional information is available at

Protect Democracy is a cross-ideological nonprofit group dedicated to defeating the authoritarian threat, building more resilient democratic institutions, and protecting our freedom and liberal democracy. Our experts and advocates use litigation, legislative and communications strategies, technology, research, and analysis to stand up for free and fair elections, the rule of law, fact-based debate, and a better democracy for future generations. Additional information is available at