FC: FEC asks for comments on standards for computer-based voting

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Jul 02 2001 - 20:16:03 PDT

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    [Summary: Email your comments to VSSat_private --DBM]
    Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 19:09:28 -0400
    To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    From: Thom Wysong <wysongat_private>
    Subject: Comment Sought on Update of Voting Systems Standards
    Declan - Thought some politechnicals might be interested in this. -Thom
    For Immediate Release
    June 28, 2001
    WASHINGTON—The Federal Election Commission (FEC) today unanimously approved 
    for public comment a draft of Volume I of the voluntary standards for 
    computer-based voting systems.
    The FEC published the first national voluntary standards for computer-based 
    voting systems in 1990. Independent testing laboratories use these 
    standards to test voting system hardware and software under a national 
    program established by the National Association of State Election Directors 
    (NASED). The FEC/NASED venture represents a unique federal/state 
    partnership that resulted in the assessment of a number of new voting 
    systems under the existing standards. NASED's experience in the testing 
    process led the organization to ask the FEC to revise and update the 
    standards four years ago.
    Begun in 1999, the FEC since has accelerated its revision efforts in order 
    to meet pressing demands of state and local governments. Responding to 
    these needs, special emphasis was placed on addressing the following:
    o Accessibility - New criteria would make it easier for voters with 
    disabilities to cast ballots and for election officials with disabilities 
    to operate the systems without assistance.
    o Internet Voting - New criteria would provide standards by which the 
    accuracy, reliability, security, and voter privacy afforded by Internet 
    voting systems could be evaluated.
    o Feedback to Voter - Proposed criteria would expand existing provisions 
    for offering feedback to the voter to indicate contests where an overvote 
    or undervote is detected.
    o Quality Assurance and Configuration Management - Additional criteria 
    would expand current vendor reporting of internal processes for assuring 
    voting system quality and for managing the development, testing and release 
    of system changes.
    The Commission plans to release draft testing requirements for comment in 
    the fall.
    FEC Chairman Danny L. McDonald praised the collaborative efforts of the 
    Commission's Office of Election Administration (OEA) and the VSS board in 
    compiling the draft, commenting, "It is important for both the public in 
    general and election officials throughout the nation in particular, not 
    only to study this, Volume I of the VSS, but also to participate in 
    developing Volume II -- test standards and criteria for computerized 
    voting. By working together, we can help solve the technical problems 
    experienced in our voting systems, and I believe this document is a major 
    step toward finding those solutions."
    FEC Vice Chairman David M. Mason noted, "This document points out that 
    voting system failures are on the decline. But systems standards must be 
    updated and implemented to hasten the day when system-failures are news 
    primarily because those problems and failures are so rare. As the Chairman 
    said, this draft, and the comments received that will eventually compose 
    Volume II, can go a long way toward that goal."
    Comments on the draft standards must be received no later than 60 days 
    after the notice seeking comments has been published in the Federal 
    Register. Copies of the proposed standards may be found on the FEC's 
    website at http://www.fec.gov/pages/standardsoverview.htm, or may be 
    requested by contacting the Office of Election Administration, 
    202-694-1095. All comments should be addressed to Ms. Penelope Bonsall, 
    Director, Office of Election Administration, Federal Election Commission, 
    999 E Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20463 and must be submitted in either 
    written or electronic form. Electronic mail comments should be sent to 
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