General Guidance for

Voting on the OP Level

A vote on a draft standard by the full ASC OP Committee is the last step before petitioning ANSI to certify the standard as an American National Standard.

Everyone’s vote of AFFIRMATIVE, NEGATIVE, or ABSTAIN is critically important to meet ANSI’s threshold for certification of a standard.

More than half the entire Committee must cast an affirmative ballot to approve the draft for publication. In other words, ballots submitted by members who are active in the discipline addressed by the standard are equally as important as ballots from the other members of the OP.

In order to cast a meaningful vote at the OP-level, it is not necessary for a member to understand every detail of a standard. The purpose for this last, highest level of voting is to confirm the overall validity of the standard and to catch any problems that it might cause for members of the OP who did not participate in the earlier phases of its development.

There could be any number of reasons as to why someone might not have participated in the earlier phases of development of a standard. Here are three common ones:

  1. she committed her limited time to support the development of other standards;
  2. he doesn’t work directly with the subject matter of the standard;
  3. her work is not usually affected by the standard.

Someone who is not active in the standard’s immediate discipline should spend at least 10 minutes to scan the document with an eye for confusing language or technical problems that it might create for his own field of activity. This is the way in which all reviewers provide an important sanity-check for the certification of the standard. This is why ANSI requires that the entire OP membership participates in the final review of any draft standard.

Here are some thoughts about how to cast a vote for a standard that is circulating for review at the OP level:

  1. If the draft appears to be good or at least innocuous, then vote AFFIRMATIVE (remember that your colleagues in the task force that approved the draft for circulation at the OP level have already thoroughly reviewed the document from their highly engaged and focused perspectives);
  2. If a reviewer notices a serious problem, then vote NEGATIVE and record the observation in the comments sheet, which is required by ANSI rules; and
  3. As a last resort, and only if a reviewer is really conflicted about the quality of the document or the impact that the Standard may have upon his activities or those of others, then vote ABSTAIN and record the reason in the comments sheet, which is required by ANSI rules.

For any questions about a proposed standard or a vote, please contact at the link below.