Last week, I engaged in what my friend and colleague Rick Hasen called “irrational exuberance” regarding the confirmation of a 3-member quorum at the EAC. [I plead “giddy as charged.”] I did note that there was work to be done, however, and already the new commissioners are hearing about what they can and should do once they formally take office. PCEA co-chairs Ben Ginsberg and Bob Bauer have written letters to the new commissioners laying out some immediate short-term steps they can take to get the nation’s voting technology testing and certification system back up to speed. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Matt Weil – himself a former EAC staffer – has a summary of those letters on the BPC blog:
[M]ultiple years without a[n EAC] quorum have led to such uncertainty in the voting system technology market that election officials are worried that they may be forced to purchase machines performing to decade-old standards for the foreseeable future. There are many needed reforms to the voting system standards and to the federal government’s testing and certification program. BPC will continue to provide input about those long-term reforms.
The long-term reforms are important, but there exist three immediate actions that the new commissioners could take that are reasonable and responsible and would provide more certainty to the voting systems market. Former PCEA co-chairs Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, who are working with BPC to implement the PCEA’s recommendations, encourage the new EAC commissioners to take the following short term actions to address the most pressing concerns on voting technology when they assume office:
• EAC should adopt the pending Draft Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 1.1, which would update the existing standards before a full rewrite. There should be a reasonable transition period for the implementation of new standards.
• EAC should adopt the Voting System Testing and Certification Program Manual Version 2.0, which provides more detail about the testing and certification program than the earlier version and tracks to the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 1.1.
• EAC should adopt the Voting System Test Laboratory Program Manual Version 2.0, which provides more detail about the voting system test laboratory program than the earlier version and tracks to the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines Version 1.1.