Soaries resigning from Election Assistance Commission

By David
April 25, 2005

Current Election Assistance Commission (EAC) member and former EAC chairman DeForest B. Soaries Jr. recently announced his resignation from the EAC, citing, among other things, dissatisfaction with the level of support the EAC has received from the federal government:

“All four of us had to work without staff, without offices, without resources,” Mr. Soaries said. “I don’t think our sense of personal obligation has been matched by a corresponding sense of commitment to real reform from the federal government.” [NYT]

Soaries was the first chairman of the EAC; his term ended at the beginning of this year. He was succeeded by Gracia M. Hillman. For more information on his resignation, see the NY Times article or a recent Guardian Unlimited article.

In other e-voting news, the EAC’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) met last week to discuss their recommendations for voluntary voting system guidelines. The purpose of the meeting was to review and approve the final draft Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) Version One (which contains guidance intended to be used for the 2006 elections) and to review VVSG Version Two (which contains more long-term guidance).

The priority for the meeting was consideration of VVSG Version One, and committee members discussed the draft methodically and in great detail. Indeed, discussion often hinged, for example, on whether to phrase a particular recommendation as a “should” statement or as a “shall” statement.

The meeting was also not without some tension. For example, at one point there was a discussion about whether committee members should consider the ramifications of their recommendations on vendors or whether they should make recommendations based on principle, without taking into account what a given recommendation might mean for vendors considering that some may have significantly more trouble complying with a given recommendation than others.

TGDC members ultimately adopted VVSG Version One, and following some final edits resulting from the meeting the guidelines will be sent as official guidance to the EAC — then it will be up to the EAC and its various boards to approve the guidelines.