In June, the Election Assistance Commission published new guidelines for voting systems that are available for public comment for 90 days. These guidelines, once finalized, will be available for states to use on a voluntary basis in complying with the Help America Vote Act of 2002. This law was enacted to prevent the types of ballot controversies that arose in the presidential election of 2000 and calls for methods to improve the usability and reliability of voting systems used in Federal elections. The law ensures that voting systems and polling places are accessible to people with disabilities and also covers ballot verification by voters, language barriers, and provisional voting.
The new guidelines contain specific provisions for accessibility, as well as voting system usability, security, and privacy. Specifications address access to voting equipment for all types of users, including those with vision impairments. The draft guidelines and instructions for submitting comments are posted on the Commission’s website. The Commission will hold public hearings on the guidelines during the comment period. The guidelines were drafted by a committee comprised of voting system specialists, election officials, persons with disabilities, and other stakeholders and interests, including the Access Board. This committee was set up under the law to prepare guidelines for the Commission’s review. Board members J.R. Harding, Ed.D. and James Elekes, M.Ed, MPA/CPM represent the Board on this committee as on the Commission’s Board of Advisors.
For further information, visit the Commission's website at www.eac.gov.