Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended (05/16/2007)

Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 - (Sec. 2) Amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) to revise requirements for the audit capacity of voting systems, particularly those for a permanent paper record.

Requires the voting system to require the use of or produce an individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballot of the voter's vote, created by or made available for inspection and verification by the voter before the voter's vote is cast and counted. Requires the voting system to provide the voter with an opportunity to correct any system-made error in the voter-verified paper ballot before it is permanently preserved.

Requires each ballot produced to be: (1) suitable for a manual audit equivalent to that of a paper ballot voting system; and (2) counted by hand in any recount or audit conducted with respect to any federal election.

Sets forth a special rule for treatment of disputes when paper ballots have been shown to be compromised.

Revises the requirements for accessibility and ballot verification for individuals with disabilities. Requires a system that: (1) allows the voter to privately and independently verify the individual, durable paper ballot through the conversion of the human-readable printed or market vote selections into accessible form; (2) ensures that the entire process of ballot verification and vote casting is equipped for individuals with disabilities; and (3) does not preclude the supplementary use of Braille or tactile ballots.

Requires the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to study, test, and develop best practices to enhance the accessibility of ballot verification mechanisms for individuals with disabilities, voters whose primary language is not English, and voters with difficulties in literacy. Authorizes appropriations.

Outlines additional voting system requirements and prohibitions.

Requires a notice in a prominent location in the polling place advising voters that: (1) the paper ballots representing their votes shall serve as the vote of record in all audits and recounts in federal elections; and (2) they should not leave the voting booth until confirming that such paper ballots accurately recorded their vote.

Prohibits the use of uncertified election dedicated voting system technologies. Requires an accredited laboratory with which such technology has been deposited to hold it in escrow and disclose it, along with related information, to qualified persons (including governmental entities and parties to litigation challenging election administration or results) who have entered certain non-disclosure agreements or to whom state law requires the laboratory to disclose it.

Prohibits a voting system from containing, using, or being accessible by any wireless, power-line, or concealed communication device, except state-certified enclosed infrared communications devices which cannot be used: (1) for any remote or wide area communications; or (2) without the knowledge of poll workers.

Prohibits connection to the Internet at any time of any component of any voting device upon which ballots are programmed or votes are cast or tabulated.

Specifies security standards for voting systems used in federal elections. Directs the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop and publish best practices on the documentation of the secure chain of custody for the handling of all software, hardware, vote storage media, ballots, and voter-verified ballots.

Prescribes durability, readability, and polling place availability requirements for paper ballots.

Requires laboratories to meet standards prohibiting conflicts of interest as a condition of accreditation for the testing of voting system hardware and software. Prescribes testing procedures. Authorizes appropriations.

Prescribes requirements for special certification to the EAC of ballot durability for states not currently using durable paper ballots.

Requires the Director of the National Science Foundation to make grants to up to three eligible entities to conduct research on the development of election-dedicated voting system software. Authorizes appropriations for FY2007-FY2008.

Makes available additional funding to enable states to meet the costs of the requirements imposed by this Act.

(Sec. 3) Provides for complaints to the Attorney General by persons aggrieved by violations of HAVA.

(Sec. 4) Requires each state to administer audits of federal election results, without advance notice to the precincts selected, consisting of random hand counts of the voter-verified paper ballots. Makes an exception from this requirement for elections in which the winning candidate had no opponent or received 80% or more of the vote total.

Prescribes requirements for determination of the number of ballots counted under the audit.

Outlines the process for administering audits.

Requires the Election Auditor of a state, as soon as practicable after the completion of an audit, to submit the results to EAC for publication.

Prohibits certification of the results of any election until completion of audits.

Provides for payments to states for costs of conducting audits. Authorizes appropriations.

Exempts from this Act any election for which a recount under state law will commence before certification of the election results.

(Sec. 5) Repeals the EAC's exemption from certain federal government contracting requirements.