S 111

1st Session

S. 111

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require new voting systems to provide a voter-verified permanent record, to develop better accessible voting machines for individuals with disabilities, and for other purposes.


January 25 (legislative day, January 5), 2011

Mr. ENSIGN introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration


To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require new voting systems to provide a voter-verified permanent record, to develop better accessible voting machines for individuals with disabilities, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Voting Integrity and Verification Act of 2011'.


    (a) In General- Section 301 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481) is amended--

      (1) by redesignating subsections (b), (c), and (d) as subsections (c), (d), and (e), respectively; and

      (2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:

    `(b) Additional Requirements for Voting Systems Purchased After 2012- In addition to the requirements of subsection (a), each voting system purchased after December 31, 2012, and used in an election for Federal office shall meet the following requirements:

      `(1) INDIVIDUAL PERMANENT PAPER RECORD- The voting system shall produce an individual permanent paper record for each ballot that is cast.

      `(2) VERIFICATION-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- In lieu of the requirements of subsection (a)(1), the voting system shall--

          `(i) permit the voter to verify the accuracy of the voter's ballot (in a private and independent manner), by allowing the voter to review an individual paper version of the voter's ballot before the voter's ballot is cast and counted;

          `(ii) provide the voter with the opportunity (in a private and independent manner) to change the ballot and correct any error discovered on the individual paper version of the voter's ballot before the ballot is cast and counted (including the opportunity to correct the error through the issuance of a replacement ballot if the voter was otherwise unable to change the ballot or correct any error); and

          `(iii)(I) preserve the individual paper version of the voter's ballot, after the voter has certified that the same accurately reflects the voter's intent, as the individual permanent paper record; and

          `(II) preserve such individual permanent paper record in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (3)(B); and

          `(iv) meet the requirement of subparagraphs (A)(iii) and (C) of subsection (a)(1).

        `(B) READABILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR MACHINE-MARKED OR PRINTED PAPER BALLOTS- All voter verified paper ballots marked or printed through the use of a marking or printing device shall be clearly readable by the naked eye and by a scanner or other device equipped for voters with disabilities so that a voter is able to verify the accuracy of such ballots via both visual and non-visual means.

      `(3) MANUAL AUDIT CAPACITY- In lieu of the requirements of subsection (a)(2)(B):

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Each individual paper record produced under paragraph (1) shall be suitable for a manual audit equivalent or superior to that of a paper ballot voting system.

        `(B) PRESERVATION- The voting system shall preserve each individual permanent paper record--

          `(i) within the polling place in the manner in which all other paper ballots are preserved within such polling place; or

          `(ii) in the absence of such manner or method, in a manner which is consistent with the manner employed by the jurisdiction for preserving paper ballots in general.

        `(C) CONSISTENCY WITH OTHER RECORDS- All electronic records produced by any voting system shall be consistent with the individual permanent paper records produced by such voting system. In the event of any inconsistencies or irregularities between any electronic records and the individual permanent paper records, the individual permanent paper records shall be the true and correct record of the votes cast.

        `(D) USE AS OFFICIAL RECORDS- The individual permanent paper records shall be used as the official records for purposes of any recount or audit conducted with respect to any election for Federal office in which the voting system is used.


        `(A) meet the requirement of subsection (a)(3)(A) through the use of at least one voting system that is fully accessible for individuals with disabilities at each polling place; and

        `(B) meet the requirements of subsection (a)(3)(A) and paragraph (2)(A) by using a system that--

          `(i) allows the voter to privately and independently verify the content of the permanent paper ballot through the conversion of the human readable content of the vote selections into accessible form;

          `(ii) ensures that the entire process of ballot verification and vote casting is equipped for individuals with disabilities; and

          `(iii) does not preclude the supplementary use of Braille or tactile ballots.'.


    (a) Definitions- In this section:

      (1) INSTITUTE- The term `Institute' means the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

      (2) DIRECTOR- The term `Director' means the Director of the Institute.

      (3) VOTING SYSTEM- The term `voting system' has the meaning given such term by section 301(b) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(b)).

    (b) Establishment of Program-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Director shall establish a program to competitively award cash prizes to eligible persons that advance the research, development, demonstration, and application of voting systems which are specifically designed to enhance accessibility and provide independence for persons with disabilities during the voting process.


        (A) ADVERTISING- The Director shall widely advertise prize competitions to encourage broad participation, including participation by individuals, universities, and large and small businesses.

        (B) ANNOUNCEMENT THROUGH FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE- The Director shall announce each prize competition by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. This notice shall include the subject of the competition, the duration of the competition, the eligibility requirements for participation in the competition, the process for participants to register for the competition, the amount of the prize, and the criteria for awarding the prize.

      (3) ADMINISTRATION OF COMPETITIONS- The Director shall enter into an agreement with a private, nonprofit entity for the administration of the prize competitions.

    (c) Prize Competitions-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The program established under paragraph (1) shall consist of competitions for the development of technology designed for persons with the following classifications of disabilities:

        (A) Hearing.

        (B) Visual.

        (C) Manual, tactile, and mobility.

        (D) A combination of the disabilities described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C).

      (2) CASH PRIZES-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Prizes shall be awarded by the judges appointed under paragraph (4) based on the criteria under paragraph (3).

        (B) AUTHORITY TO NOT AWARD PRIZE- If the judges determine that no registered participants meets the objective performance criteria established pursuant to paragraph (3), no prize shall be awarded.

        (C) LIMITATION ON AMOUNT AND NUMBER OF PRIZES- No more than 2 prizes may be awarded for any competition and the amount of any prize shall not exceed $1,000,000.

      (3) CRITERIA-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The Director shall develop criteria for awarding prizes under this section such that prizes are based on the functionality and usability of a prototype accessible voting machine.

        (B) REQUIREMENTS- The criteria developed under subparagraph (A) shall--

          (i) take into account the challenges voters with disabilities face during the voting process, including--

            (I) the need of voters with manual disabilities to be able to use prosthetics and personal assistive devices during the voting process without electromagnetic interference;

            (II) the challenges facing voters with visual impairments and the best means to accommodate those voters, including, the need for voters to manually adjust font size (to account for persons with poor vision and tunnel vision), color content, and contrast for electronic voting machines;

            (III) the need of voters to use various voter system interfaces such as synchronized audio output that allows the voter to adjust the rate of speech, the audiofrequency, and volume of the audio interface and which provides that such setting shall reset to a standard default for each voter;

            (IV) the need of voters to simultaneously use a tactile interface that permits the voter to rewind, repeat, pause, and skip any audio cues, presentations, and ballot measures;

            (V) the need of voters who rely on mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, to adjust the height of a voting system and to be able to see any visual cues or prompts from a seated position; and

            (VI) the need of voters with cognitive disabilities including using visual and audio cues simultaneously;

          (ii) require that any prototype accessible voting machine entered into the prize competition allows voters with disabilities to independently verify the accuracy of the ballot cast on the voting system; and

          (iii) be designed to--

            (I) stimulate innovation in the development and design of accessible voting systems in a way that Federal procurement standards cannot;

            (II) help overcome traditional obstacles in the design of accessible voting systems;

            (III) educate, inspire, and motivate the public to participate in the process of developing and designing accessible voting systems; and

            (IV) enhance the accessibility and independence of the voting process.

        (C) CONSULTATION WITH OTHER ENTITIES- In establishing the criteria under subparagraph (A), the Director shall consult--

          (i) with various disability rights groups with special knowledge concerning the challenges facing persons with disabilities in each of the classifications in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (1);

          (ii) with other Federal agencies, including--

            (I) the Election Assistance Commission; and

            (II) the National Science and Technology Council; and

          (iii) with private organizations, including professional societies and industry associations.

      (4) JUDGES-

        (A) IN GENERAL- For each prize competition the Director shall appoint a panel of qualified judges. Such panel shall include individuals from outside the Institute and from the private sector.

        (B) DISQUALIFICATION- A judge may not--

          (i) have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of, any entity that is participating in the prize competition; or

          (ii) have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is participating in the prize competition.

    (d) Eligibility- A person is eligible to win a prize under this section if--

      (1)(A) in the case of a corporation, such person is incorporated and maintains a primary place of business the United States; and

      (B) in the case of an individual or partnership, such individual, or each such individual in the partnership, is a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States;

      (2) such person is not an employee or entity of the United States or an laboratory accredited under section 231 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15371); and

      (3) such person registers for the competition by submitting an application containing such information as the Director may require.

    (e) Trade Secrets- The Director shall, to the extent possible, protect any trade secrets or proprietary information related to any submission for a competition under this section.

    (f) Termination- No prizes shall be awarded under this section for competitions announced after September 30, 2013.

    (g) Authorization of Appropriations-

      (1) IN GENERAL-

        (A) AWARDS- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Director $2,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013 for the purpose of awarding prizes in competitions pursuant to this section.

        (B) ADMINISTRATION- In addition to the amounts authorized in subparagraph (A), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Director $1,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013 for the administrative costs of carrying out this section.

      (2) CARRYOVER OF FUNDS- Funds appropriated for prize awards under this section shall remain available until expended, and may be transferred, reprogrammed, or expended for other purposes only after the expiration of 10 fiscal years after the fiscal year for which the funds were originally appropriated.