EAC considers new voting system guidelines

The Election Assistance Commission is considering changes to voting system guidelines that could beef up security for the systems.

EAC was created by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to set standards for the administration of federal elections. The commission released an initial set of voluntary standards for voting systems in 2002 and created a technical committee to review and update those standards.

The Technical Guidelines Development Committee — made up of election officials, and experts on technology and disabilities — has submitted its first set of recommendations, which are undergoing an initial review by the three commissioners.

The reliability and security of electronic voting systems have come under scrutiny as more states move to replace older mechanical and paper-ballot systems. EAC has said that more than two-thirds of states have adopted the voluntary guidelines in whole or in part.

EAC announced that the recommendations would make significant changes to the guidelines. They would add a new section on security of voting systems, along with requirements on accessibility and usability by persons with disabilities.

Following initial review of the recommendations, which could take several weeks, the changes will be published in the Federal Register and on the EAC Web site at www.eac.gov. Following a 90-day public comment period, the commissioners will vote on the proposals.

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