In February, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) published the next iteration of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) to the Federal Register for public comment. The public comment period will remain open until May 29, 2019. This is the EAC’s first order of business since a quorum of commissioners was restored following the appointment of two new commissioners in January.
Currently, the Principles and Guidelines are open for public comment. These sections will eventually be followed by the accompanying Requirements section, which will also be subject to a public comment period upon completion.
In accordance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the VVSG outlines Principles, Guidelines and Requirements against which voting systems can be tested to ensure security, accessibility, accuracy, auditability and functionality. With modifications proposed by the EAC, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), VVSG 2.0 will establish high level guidelines on the functions performed within voting systems rather than provide device-specific guidance.
While the VVSG is voluntary, many states incorporate some aspect of federal testing and certification standards in state law. Because county administrators are on the front lines of our elections and are responsible for selecting, purchasing and using these systems, county feedback and input is critical in shaping the next generation of voting system standards.