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Voluntary Voting System Guidelines

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) are a set of specifications and requirements against which voting systems can be tested to determine if they meet required standards. Some factors examined under these tests include basic functionality, accessibility, and security capabilities. While the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) mandates the EAC to develop and maintain these requirements, adhering to the VVSG is voluntary except in select states where it is required by their own state law. 

On February 10, 2021, the EAC's Commissioners unanimously adopted the newest VVSG standard, version 2.0. In November and December of 2022, the VVSG 2.0 was fully ready to be used for testing with the accreditation of both Voting System Test Labs (VSTL) by the EAC to test to this new standard.

As described in section 3 of the EAC's VVSG Lifecycle Policy, the EAC no longer accepts submissions to test new voting systems to previous major versions 12 months after new major VVSG standards are ready to be used for testing. With the accreditation of the first VSTL to test to VVSG 2.0 on November 15, 2022, VVSG 1.0 and VVSG 1.1 are now no longer used by the EAC to certify voting systems as of November 16, 2023. 

The EAC continued to accept applications for voting systems to be tested against VVSG 1.0 and 1.1 until November 15, 2023. Following this, VVSG 1.0 and 1.1 is now no longer used by the EAC to certify voting systems, and all applications for voting systems to be newly certified by the EAC must be for VVSG 2.0 or be limited maintenance modifications to existing EAC-certified (version 1.0 and 1.1) systems.  

Learn More About VVSG Migration


Key points regarding VVSG migration are:

  • Voting systems are not decertified by the EAC as the result of VVSG migration. VVSG migration only affects the standards manufacturers may use to obtain future EAC certifications, not systems previously certified to past standards. 

  • VVSG 1.0 and 1.1 certified voting systems may continue to be used and do not need to be replaced by systems certified to VVSG 2.0, unless otherwise dictated by individual state statute.  

  • The EAC has developed resources to assist election officials with communications about the migration of these standards and reassuring the public that our voting systems are secure and accurate.  

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

Approved Guidelines

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 2.0

Legacy Guidelines

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, VVSG migration of prior 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 prior standards and describes the process for updating the standards as defined in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

VVSG Annual Review 

The EAC Testing and Certification Program Director  provides an annual report to the Executive Director at the end of each fiscal year detailing recommendations for updates to the VVSG that have been collected throughout the prior fiscal year from various stakeholders. Feedback from this process will inform the decision to make updates to the VVSG. This process is detailed in the VVSG Lifecycle Policy. 


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.