This week the EAC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provided information to the election community regarding the formation of public working groups to help inform the work of the EAC and its Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) in creating a new version of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). We are very excited about the creation of these working groups and moving forward with the next VVSG. Public working groups are something that NIST successfully used in a variety of areas to help develop standards and receive broad based buy in from various communities as standards are being worked on as opposed to seeking that buy-in after the fact. The creation of the working groups was done as a direct response to feedback received from the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA), EAC Standards Board as well as the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).
All of these groups made clear that the prior VVSG development process was inefficient and did not allow input throughout the process instead soliciting comment from the Standards Board and non-TGDC members only after most of the work had been done. Additionally, the prior process did not take full advantage of the many election officials and other subject matter experts across the country who were willing to volunteer their time and offer their input during the development process. The public working groups address all of those concerns by encouraging all interested individuals to get involved from the beginning through a transparent open process of development.
Three working groups will be established: 1) Pre-Election; 2) Election; 3) Post-Election. These three working groups will focus on the election process and the necessary technical functions needed to carry out those processes in each phase of the election. This is in stark contrast to the prior structure, which focused on separate areas of concentration (Security, Functionality, Accessibility/Usability). This new structure will ensure that the standards address all areas of necessary functionality with the three areas of focus from before being covered throughout the process analysis. To ensure this takes place four “constituency groups” will be created to inform the working groups.