For Immediate Release
January 25, 2021
Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced the Commissioners will vote on the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) 2.0 on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. ET. The VVSG 2.0 represents a significant advancement in defining standards that will serve as the template for the next generation of secure, accessible, and accurate voting systems. If adopted, VVSG 2.0 would be the fifth iteration of national-level voting system standards.
The meeting will be livestreamed on the EAC’s YouTube Channel and more information can be found on the meeting event page. During the meeting, Commissioners will hear a presentation from EAC Executive Director Mona Harrington about the updates to the VVSG, a policy recommendation, and the work that went into getting VVSG 2.0 to this point.
The EAC Commissioners, Chairman Ben Hovland, Vice Chair Don Palmer, Commissioner Thomas Hicks, and Commissioner Christy McCormick, issued this statement, “The vote on the VVSG 2.0 is the next step in a long, but important, process for adoption of the next generation of federal voting system guidelines and voting equipment. We appreciate the hard work of EAC staff, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) staff, our boards, and the many others who contributed to this process.”
Ms. Harrington added, “The EAC followed the process outlined in HAVA, and I am confident to make a recommendation for the adoption of VVSG 2.0.”
The VVSG are a set of specifications and requirements against which voting systems can be tested to determine if the systems meet required standards. Some factors examined under these tests include basic functionality, accessibility, and security capabilities. HAVA mandates that the EAC develop and maintain these requirements. The VVSG 2.0 will improve the usability, security, and accessibility of voting systems used across the country.
The Federal Election Commission published the first two sets of federal standards in 1990 and 2002. The EAC then adopted Version 1.0 of the VVSG on December 13, 2005. In an effort to update and improve version 1.0 of the VVSG, on March 31, 2015, the EAC commissioners unanimously approved VVSG 1.1.
Throughout 2020, EAC staff worked with NIST, the EAC’s advisory boards, and gathered input from the public to advance the latest iteration of the VVSG.
The EAC submitted the proposed VVSG 2.0 Requirements to the Standards Board and Board of Advisors executive committees for review on March 11th. The annual meeting for the EAC Board of Advisors was held on July 17th, and the annual meeting for the EAC Standards Board on July 31st. Both meetings focused on VVSG 2.0. The Standards Board passed a resolution recommending adoption of the VVSG 2.0 Requirements.
VVSG 2.0 virtual hearings were held on March 27th, May 6th, and May 20th. On March 24th, the EAC initiated a 90-day public comment period on the VVSG 2.0 Requirements which concluded on June 22nd. The EAC received 77 sets of comments and a total of 1,660 comments on the proposed requirements. The comments predominately focused on accessibility, ambiguity and vagueness of requirements, inconsistent terminology, and additions and changes to the glossary.
The EAC worked on numerous parallel paths in order to submit the VVSG 2.0 to the Commissioners for adoption. Throughout the summer and fall, the EAC's staff met twice per week with the NIST Voting Systems Program to evaluate and resolve public comments on the requirements. EAC staff updated the Voting System Test Laboratory Program Manual and Testing and Certification Program Manual, and developed test assertions to support the VVSG 2.0.
Additional information on the VVSG is available on the EAC's website.
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The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.
EAC Contact: Kristen Muthig