The Carter Center and the Baker Institute announced a new report Tuesday which aims to provide a framework for effective bipartisan policies for equitable access and integrity of results.

The report is inspired by the work of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and James Baker, U.S. Secretary of State from 1989 to 1992 during the administration of George H.W. Bush, who joined together to chair the private bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform in 2005.

"Elections are the heart of democracy,” Carter and Baker wrote in the introductory letter to their first final report 19 years ago. 

Now aged 99 and 93, the two statesmen — a Democrat and a Republican — continue to stand behind their work to study election issues at a time when U.S. democratic principles are being tested.

Guiding Principles for Election Administration outlines 10 principles for preserving democracy through healthy election systems by prioritizing clear and transparent election laws and access to registration and voting.

The first principle instructs "the media and every other sector of American society promote and support the idea that voting supports our democracy and oppose efforts to deny, disrupt, or discredit electoral outcomes."

The report's authors include Carter Center experts as well as bipartisan policy consultants. 

In a Feb. 6 panel discussion of the principles, David Carroll, director of the Carter Center's Democracy Program, said, "We need to ensure that the public has more access to understanding how the process works, how the votes are tabulated, how results are generated and ensure that there's greater transparency and 'more windows' for folks to understand what's happening in our election process."

John Williams, co-director of the Baker Institute’s Presidential Elections Program, said, "It's sad — it's become increasingly common — to hear the losing side candidate claim that they didn't lose an election, they were cheated. And it's sad that candidates use elections as wedge issues to try to get their voters to the polls ... it's a gamesmanship."

"Absent any efforts to craft bipartisan election reforms, trust in our system is going to continue to deteriorate and that hurts everybody," Williams added.

Read the 10 Guiding Principles for Election Administration here.