OEA ADVISORY PANEL AIRS CONCERNS IN CONFERENCE
WASHINGTON Voting technology and systems standards, concerns over upcoming
elections in their states and counties, and adequate funding for the Federal Election
Commissions Office of Election Administration (OEA) were primary topics of
discussion May 4-5 at a conference of the OEAs Advisory Panel in Baltimore.
The OEAs Advisory Panel was established in 1976, composed of election officials
and Secretaries of State from throughout the nation. The 20 members of the Panel are
nominated by the director of the OEA and appointed by the six Commissioners of the FEC and
are tasked to advise the FEC on the needs of election administrators and how the OEA might
allocate its resources to best serve those needs.
Panel members expressed their concern about the necessity for the FECs election
administration office to continue its research and clearinghouse functions in support of
state and local elections officials. They voiced support for approval by Congress of
additional and continuing funds for the OEAs efforts, while noting the most
immediate concern is the Voting Systems Standards Program, a voluntary national program
that provides for independent third party testing of voting systems.
The FEC has requested $3 million in supplemental "no-year funds" (funds that
would be available beyond September 30, 2001) for enhancement of the OEA, telling Congress
in its proposal that the funds are sought "to better assist state and local election
administrators, who are responsible for administering federal elections, to develop
operational election administration and management standards."
Various resolutions supporting that funding proposal have been adopted by elections
officials and other associations, including the National Association of Secretaries of
State (NASS), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the Council of
State Governments (CSG), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the
National Association of Counties (NACO), the National Association of County Recorders and
Clerks (NACRC), the Election Center, and the International Association of Clerks,
Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers (IACREOT).
The Voting Systems Standard documents are scheduled for public review and comment in
two segments Volume I slated for release in late June and Volume II by the end of
October. To provide assistance for the completion of the study, New York State Board of
Elections Executive Director Thomas Wilkey under an intergovernmental agreement
will devote some five days per month in Washington. Wilkey is chairman of the
national Voting Systems Standards Board, which is overseen by the chief election officials
of each state.
The released document will contain the technical standards, i.e. documented, consensus
agreements between users and manufacturers that contain specifications which govern system
functionality, software requirements, transactions audits, security measures, and methods
to manage different configurations. These performance criteria comprise Volume I.
Volume II will contain the test plans and procedures for the subsequent examination of
all automated vote tabulation systems by the independent test authorities certified by the
National Association of State Election Directors.
Follow this link for a listing of the members of the Election Administration Advisory Panel.
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