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Election Support Consolidation and Efficiency Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HALL. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that H.R. 672 eliminates wasteful spending in a responsible way. In particular, H.R. 672 would transfer the Election Assistance Commission's Office of Voting System Testing and Certification to the Federal Election Commission, while maintaining the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) current role in the accreditation of laboratories to test voting equipment. The bill continues the formal mechanisms for input into the development of Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSGs) by maintaining the current Technical Guidelines Development Committee (which NIST, chairs), and replaces several committees with a streamlined 56-member Guidelines Review Board composed of state and local election officials and other key constituencies including federal representatives.

The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is the Committee of jurisdiction over the scientific and technological aspects of voting reform including research, development, and testing of voting machine standards. These responsibilities have been assigned by the Help America Votes Act (HAVA) of 2002 to NIST. Within HAVA, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee created provisions to ensure that proper technical standards would be developed to improve voting technology and that a reliable system would be set up to test equipment against those standards. These activities allow states and localities to participate in the standards development process and to trust the systems they choose to invest in. Both are preserved in the legislation we are considering today.

I thank Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS) and his staff for recognizing the importance of maintaining a pathway for the development of voting standards and ensuring the quality of voting equipment in H.R. 672.

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