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ACM Policy Committee Applauds New Guidelines for Voting Systems

USACM Cites Principles that Assure Secure, Accurate, Accessible Elections and Promote Voter Confidence

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession


Virginia Gold

Cameron Wilson

ACM Public Policy Office


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Washington, DC – May 5, 2008 – ACM’s U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM) said today that new guidelines released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) provide an opportunity to strengthen the accuracy, reliability, accessibility, usability, security, and auditing ability of voting systems. In comments filed with the EAC, USACM said that these standards represent a fundamental shift from previous versions of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), which are intended to ease concerns over unverifiable voting machines. The EAC is an independent, bipartisan commission created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

In its filing to the EAC, USACM lauded the guidelines’ inclusion of several principles that are critical to assuring technical accuracy, feasibility, and best practices, and to promote voter confidence in election results. USACM also submitted comments to these principles to help strengthen the guidelines, noting that it supports:

- Software independent voting systems, which in practice means that voting systems must produce independent records capturing each voter’s selections as an impartial check on the results produced and stored by the system. The guidelines identify private, durable, physical, and independent records that voters may verify and officials can audit or recount as a mechanism to achieve software independence.

- New requirements for independent testing of voting technology by qualified outside experts to provide transparency and strengthen trust in the voting systems.

- Accessibility and usability features to be included with as many voting machines as possible and practical to make the voting experience as easy as possible for voters.

- An “innovation class” provision that serves as a pathway for new, innovative voting devices to foster development of voting technologies.

USACM also urged the EAC to resist weakening the critical concepts in the draft that provide the opportunity to develop more robust voting systems, and to adopt the recommended guidelines with some modifications and clarifications provided by USACM.

For more information on USACM and its activities on behalf of electronic voting and standards, please visit USACM’s full comments to the EAC can be found at


The ACM U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM) serves as the focal point for ACM's interaction with U.S. government organizations, the computing community, and the U.S. public in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology. Supported by ACM's Washington, D.C., Office of Public Policy, USACM responds to requests for information and technical expertise from U.S. government agencies and departments, seeks to influence relevant U.S. government policies on behalf of the computing community and the public, and provides information to ACM on relevant U.S. government activities. USACM also identifies potentially significant technical and public policy issues and brings them to the attention of ACM and the community.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

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