The U.S. Election Assistance Commission issued a new version of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines last year, marking the first major change to the standards since they were first adopted in 2005. The VVSG 2.0 covers pre-voting, voting and post-voting operations—think of testing for logic and accuracy, recording votes cast and exporting election results as respective examples. The updated standards emphasize voter interface accessibility and cybersecurity.
The guidelines are approved by the EAC and used to test voting systems to determine whether they meet standards in functionality, accessibility and security. States’ adoption of the standards is completely voluntary, as the name suggests, and limited to equipment acquired by states and EAC-certified. Currently, 11 states and Washington, D.C., require full EAC certification of voting equipment in statute or rule, although 38 states and the District of Columbia use some aspect of the federal testing and certification program in addition to state-specific requirements.
Since 2005, the VVSG has undergone only minor changes—1.0 to 1.1, in 2015. Considering VVSG 2.0 and its forthcoming implementation, lawmakers may want to examine their state’s statutory language on voting system testing and certification to ensure a smooth transition to the new (but still voluntary) standards.
Saige Draeger is a policy associate in NCSL’s Elections and Redistricting Program.