Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC)
Human Factors and Privacy Subcommittee (HFP)*
April 13, 2007


1. (5 mins.) Administrative Updates (Allan Eustis)
2. (30 mins.) Discussion to determine extent to which bar codes are allowed as an aid to accessibility and an usability aid for total recounts.
3. (5 mins.) Follow up on component solutions. See Matt Masterson's clarification at the end of this email.
4. (20 mins) NVLAP discussion. We can continue this at the next meeting as well and I will invite Steve Freeman to attend the next meeting.
5. Other issues.

Our next telecon is scheduled for: Friday, April 20, 2007 at 11 AM ET

Attendees: Alexa Scott-Morrison, Alice Miller, Allan Eustis, Barbara Guttman, Bill Burr, David Baquis (U.S. Access Board), David Wagner, John Cugini, John Kelsey, John Wack, Mat Masterson (EAC), Nelson Hastings, Paul Miller, Ron Rivest, Sharon Laskowski, Sharon Turner-Buie, Steve Freeman (NVLAP), Tricia Mason, Wendy Havens, Whitney Quesenbery

Administrative Updates (Allan Eustis):

  • The final draft of the current VVSG will be placed on the web the week of May 14th. The May plenary meeting may/may not have white papers at this point. The plan for the meeting is to go through the VVSG. Between now and then we plan to come up with a relevant list of what might be hot topics in the VVSG.

Bar Code Requirements:

The focus of the discussion today was to help the HFP subcommittee come to a conclusion on a recommendation about barcodes for the purpose of usability and accessibility. At the last HFP meeting, it was suggested that they be used with assistive technology with three constraints:

  • No information be included in the barcode that is not represented in clear text as well
  • The bar code is to be generated using a public standard and that standard be disclosed
  • The purpose of the bar code is for accessibility and for possible recounts, but not to replace hand audits

After the last meeting Secretary Gale . put out feelers to election officials about their input on this issue. The response indicated that election officials didn't see any reason that a system that utilizes bar codes shouldn't be certified.

David Wagner of the STS subcommittee wanted to separate the use of bar codes for recounts and audits from use of bar codes for accessibility. He also stated that bar codes must be able to be turned off or on depending on the user. David has two main concerns. First, not sure if the bar codes accomplish much, there could be the same problem that is caused by generating audio read back from electronic memory (there is a possibility for mismatched data), and second, if we put the information in for accessibility and it contains ballot choice information, then there will be temptation to use it for audits and recounts.

Ron Rivest of STS pointed out if you have the same information in two different formats on the same sheet, you have to audit a portion of this to make sure the information is being generated correctly. Ron supports the use of barcodes as long as the vendor supplies an open source for scanning. Barcodes should be readable but machines from different vendors than the voting machines.

At the end of the discussion it was decided that draft recommendations would be written. These draft requirements would include:

  • There must be an exact match between the encoded barcode and the text information (It must read back exactly what is printed, the goal is to hear no more or no less than what you're reading)
  • There must be test methods provided
  • There is required documentation of how it would be used and in what setting
  • There must be option for local officials to turn on or off


At the last teleconference vote-by-phone was discussed and Sharon took it to the EAC to find out about certification. The conclusion from the EAC certification manual is that a whole system has to be submitted for certification - you cannot certify components. Therefore, if you wanted to submit vote-by-phone as an accessible system, it must be submitted in entirety with documentation and the rest of the system to make it a complete accessible system. In order for a system to be certified as an ACC-VS, it must meet all the requirements in the accessibility chapter of the VVSG. There are no further action items on this issue.

NVLAP Discussion:

The purpose of this discussion was to set the agenda for next week's meeting. Accessibility and usability testing is something new to the test labs. They have been discovering issues when testing systems, such as in the mobility accessibility testing and the audio speed testing. Whitney was concerned that testers are not certified to test for accessibility and usability. The current standards seem to be missing details in test methods.

Agenda item for next week: What can NIST do to generate test methods in this stage to make sure enough repeatability is capable (how do we write clear requirements). Also, there is an upcoming summit on costs of testing systems. Possible discussion of HFP's input for summit.
Meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.


[* Pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the TGDC is charged with directing NIST in performing voting systems research so that the TGDC can fulfill its role of recommending technical standards for voting equipment to the EAC. This teleconference discussion serves the purposes of the HFP subcommittee of the TGDC to direct NIST staff and coordinate its voting-related research relevant to the VVSG 2007. Discussions on this telecon are preliminary and do not necessarily reflect the views of NIST or the TGDC.]





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