Major Updates of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0 

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (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 EAC develop and maintain these requirements. 

On December 13, 2005, the EAC unanimously adopted the 2005 VVSG, which significantly increased security requirements for voting systems and expanded access, including opportunities for individuals with disabilities to vote privately and independently. The guidelines updated and augmented the 2002 Voting System Standards, as required by HAVA, to address advancements in election practices and computer technologies.

After adopting the 2005 VVSG, EAC tasked the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) with developing the next iteration of the VVSG. On March 31, 2015, the commissioners unanimously approved the VVSG 1.1, which clarified the guidelines to make them more testable; enabled the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create test suites for the proposed revisions; and improved portions of the guidelines without requiring massive programmatic changes.

Almost immediately following the adoption of VVSG 1.1, a public working group process was developed to help inform NIST and EAC on the development of the next iteration of voluntary voting system guidelines, entitled VVSG 2.0. On September 11-12, 2017, the TGDC voted on a recommendation of the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines. On February 7, 2020, the TGDC voted on a recommendation of the VVSG 2.0 Requirements to the EAC’s Acting Executive Director. NIST delivered the recommended requirements to the EAC’s Acting Executive Director on March 9, 2020. Currently, the VVSG 2.0 draft requirements are being circulated for comment from the public and the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors.

For a full text of each version of the VVSG, including drafts, and other documents pertinent to VVSG, please see below.

Approved Guidelines

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 2.0

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 1.1

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 1.0 (2005)

2002 Voting System Standards

Prior to the passage of HAVA, voting systems were assessed and qualified by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), a nonpartisan association consisting of state level election directors nationwide. These voting systems were tested against the 1990 and 2002 voting system standards developed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). With HAVA's enactment, the responsibility for developing voting system standards was transferred from the FEC to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and their new iterations are now the EAC Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.

1990 FEC Standards

VVSG Lifecycle Policy

The EAC VVSG Lifecycle Policy facilitates migration to new VVSG standards by providing guidance on the types of version changes, Voting System Test Laboratory (VSTL) accreditation, deprecation of obsolete major standards, and establishing a periodic review timeline for new standards going forward. The policy defines changes that may be made to systems certified to deprecated standards and describes the process for updating the standards as defined in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).


Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 2.0 (Drafts)

These documents are undergoing a non-substantive review which includes verifying font types, spacing, identifying misspellings, and grammatical errors.

At the September 2016 TGDC Meeting, the Committee, through the Project Charter, adopted the name VVSG 2.0 for the next iteration of guidelines. Also, the Project Charter laid out the proposed structure of the document, as well as a proposed timeline. At the February 2017 TGDC Meeting, the scope of the document was unanimously decided and a draft of the guidelines was presented. 

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 1.1 (Drafts)

The VVSG 1.1 was originally offered for public comment during the summer of 2009. The revisions to VVSG 1.1 were taken almost exclusively from the 2007 TGDC Recommended Guidelines. Additional changes were made to VVSG 1.1 after the initial 120-day public comment period. Then the EAC reopened the guidelines for an additional 130-day public comment period. The VVSG 1.1 was adopted on March 31, 2015.

2007 TGDC Recommended Guidelines (Drafts)

After adopting the 2005 VVSG, EAC tasked the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) with developing the next iteration of the VVSG. The TGDC delivered its draft recommendations to the EAC in August of 2007. After receiving the TGDC's recommendations, the EAC put them out for public comment. The public comment period ended in May 2008 with the EAC receiving more than 3000 comments. Based on those comments and input from a variety of stakeholders, EAC decided to issue proposed revisions to the 2005 VVSG.

Election Operations Assessment

The goal of the Election Operations Assessment is to produce a scientifically-founded risk assessment tool that will facilitate informed decision making by EAC and its Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) when developing voluntary voting system guidelines. 

Miscellaneous Information 

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