Usability in Civic Life: Voting and Usability

US Government Legislation

There are many different bills introduced in Congress to address election reform, and after a bill is voted into law, there are actions and regulations dictated by that law.  As an individual citizen, you can track the progress of legislation and regulations, and write to your congressional representatives to express your views.

The Election Assistance Commission

The EAC is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information about election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds.


One of the EAC's roles is to publish and administer national voluntary voting system guidelines. Guidelines are developed by the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC).

  • On December 13, 2005, the EAC unanimously adopted the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), which significantly increase security requirements for voting systems and expand access, including opportunities to vote privately and independently, for individuals with disabilities.  These guidelines became fully effective in January 2007
  • On September 6, 2007, the EAC received the TGDC Recommended Guidelines for an update to the VVSG. This draft was made available for public comment in October 2007.


Help America Vote Act of 2002

This act was established in response to the election issues in 2000. It included funds to help states upgrade their voting systems, and created a new commission to assist with elections.

"To establish a program to provide funds to States to replace punch card voting systems, to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of Federal elections and to otherwise provide assistance with the administration of certain Federal election laws and programs, to establish minimum election administration standards for States and units of local government with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections, and for other purposes."

  • Created the Election Assistance Commission as a separate entity from the FEC
  • Established a Technical Guidelines Development Commitee and addressed the certification and testing of voting systems
  • Established a program to replace punch cards and lever technology
  • Authorized grants for research on voting technology and requires reports on Human Factors, Electronic Voting Systems and several other aspects of elections
  • Set minimum voting systems standards

Reports and Commissions


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