AEI/Brookings release: "A review of proposed Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines"

The AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project released their “A review of proposed Voluntary Voting System Guidelines” today. I was on their VVSG Task Force which helped to put together this review.

Bottom line, as quoted in the executive summary, “… we find the VVSG to be in need of extensive revision.”

The findings highlighted in the executive summary:

• In many instances, the VVSG prescribes design standards where performance
standards would be sufficient. Excessive design standards can arrest
manufacturers’ ability to innovate new, better systems.

• Although the VVSG purports to be agnostic towards election processes,
several provisions do in fact bear on process. These provisions exceed the
document’s mandate and could lead to burdensome requirements for
administrators in the field.

• The VVSG’s “software independence” requirement is, in effect, a requirement
that direct recording electronic (DRE) systems produce a paper record, a
provision we fear trades tangible losses in election facility for merely
perceived gains in election security.

• The methodology through which the VVSG derives standards for voting
system usability is flawed, failing to incorporate standard, easily implemented
procedures for research in the social sciences.

• By focusing narrowly on provisions for voting system security, the VVSG
distracts attention from topics that should be of at least as much concern to
election administrators and the public, such as poll worker training, voter
registration practices, and chain-of-custody procedures.