EAC almost closes public comment on VVSG 2.0 Draft

The federal Election Assistance Commission was scheduled on 5/29/2019 to close a 90 day public comment period on the draft of its Principles and Guidelines for the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines version 2.0 – but they extended the deadline a few days until June 7. Here is the linked press release. The VVSG is expected to cause more interstate collaboration between regulators and manufacturers of future voting systems under the watchful eye of 4 Commissioners appointed by the President.

The original notice of the public comment period in the Federal Register is located here. Since the delay wasn’t announced until after the deadline, I submitted on behalf of many co-signers from the State Audit Working Group a 6 page document linked here. And I have already submitted 18 pages of comments linked here.

I am hoping that the EAC will publish the various comments (reportedly well over 1,200 have been received) before the upcoming delayed deadline so that it is possible to respond to some of them. Here for example of what might have been sent is a link to a site that recommended to its readers 18 points for proposed comments that are rather similar to mine but without the extensive explanation.

As a teaser I include here the Table of Contents of my 18 page document and the concluding paragraph.

1) Need for VVSG
2) Transition strategy from 1.0 to 2.0
3) Relationship of P&G to Requirements
4) Relationship of requirements to test assertions or test procedures
5) Need for balancing of Principles
6) Scope of VVSG – need for clarity and eventual expansion of scope
7) Role of Glossary
8) Process to create P&G and Requirements
9) Process to coordinate Glossary
10) Process to create test plans
11) Decentralization of testing
12) Role of Commissioners in requirements and future P&G
13) Need for broad based review and input for update of requirements
14) Discovery, appeal methods for updating requirements
15) Defects and strong points of principles
16) Missed opportunities- effects of input from existing legacy vendors
17) Need for realistic interpretation of Guidelines
18) Relative need to support future v. existing technologies and methods
19) Inconsistencies with usage of “cast”
20) Inadequate and restrictive usage of the singular phrase “ballot”
21) Potential risk of nebulous definition of E2E
22) Potential risk of failure to fully support MMPB
23) Huge benefit of election record transparency
24) Claims that stand as obstacles to ballot transparency
25) Need to define substantive, not absolute ballot anonymity
26) Separation of systematic against self-identified risks to anonymity
27) Value in reduction of styles
28) Means to reduce styles
29) Potential risk of failure to fully support public transparency of records
30) Removing the fear of multiple sheet ballots
31) Conclusion- will we achieve the evidence based public election?

When the Commissioners and EAC staff acknowledge the many benefits of manually marked paper ballots and weigh in to make sure that they receive the attention they deserve –

and when transparency of election records is recognized as an essential goal, not uncompromisable but of equal importance to ballot accessibility to benefit the disability community and other principles-

and when ideals in the principles- for example ballot secrecy- are not treated as absolute requirements that must be met even at the risk of public accessibility to election records for verification-

and when Commissioners do carefully resolve other existing technical disputes with deliberate policymaking in the interests of the public at large-balancing one principle with prioritization with respect to another-

and when states adopt these upcoming VVSG standards and manufacturers start building to the test specifications- in either order-

then we can expect to see evidence-based elections beginning to happen in all conforming states plus a few more in other jurisdictions.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide public comment on this most important topic.