The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is extremely disappointed by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) final Voluntary Voting System Guideline (VVSG) 2.0 Requirements adopted today.
The adopted VVSG 2.0 requirements do not ensure a private and independent ballot for all voters in a fully integrated experience that respects the dignity of the voter and the secrecy of the ballot. The final requirements also ignore all of the concerns addressed by the disability community in comments sent to the EAC back in June 2020 in response to the EAC’s proposed VVSG 2.0 Requirements.
The extensive security requirements in VVSG 2.0 along with the mandate that a voter verified printed paper ballot is the only accepted ballot of record and the bans on Internet and wireless connection within a voting system create a noticeable imbalance in VVSG 2.0’s priorities regarding security and accessibility.
“Once again, the EAC opted to prioritize the interests of cybersecurity advocates over the rights afforded to people with disabilities under the law,” said Curt Decker, executive director of NDRN. “NDRN supports the need to ensure America’s elections are accurate, fair, and represent the will of the people. However, we cannot ensure that America’s elections are accurate, fair, and represent the will of the people, if we fail to let all eligible Americans exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
Election security cannot and must not be allowed to supersede the critical importance of election accessibility, as mandated and protected by existing federal law. These requirements will be used widely by manufacturers of voting technology in the development of their product offerings for the foreseeable future and will be used in most states to guide purchase and implementation of voting systems. These adopted requirements will effectively create new barriers in equal access to the vote and pave the way for segregation and discrimination against Americans with disabilities.
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.