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Submitting Your Ballot Electronically

by Bode Hennegan

Submitting your ballot items electronically is a requirement with the upcoming implementation of online balloting. ASTM Staff Manager Bode Hennegan explains how to send electronic copies of ballot items to Headquarters.

In response to the growing number of member requests, ASTM is pleased to announce that we will be providing electronic copies of ASTM standards to assist members in developing revisions for ballot. This will allow members to develop clean, easy to understand ballot items faster and more conveniently than in the past. Therefore, we are requesting that all items for main committee and subcommittee ballots be submitted electronically from this time forward. This procedural change will allow the Society to move more rapidly toward the completion of major initiatives such as online balloting and will serve to reduce the time between the approval of a standard and its publication, raising the quality of service we provide to our members and customers.

The introduction of online balloting will allow a member to access only the information on a ballot that is of interest and reduce unnecessary printing and postage costs. During the ballot period, members will be able to access the information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This will be a significant benefit to our international members who will no longer be at the mercy of the mail system.

A pilot program for online balloting took place last fall. In the spring of 2001, ASTM will be looking for committees to participate in the online ballot program. In order to participate, it will be necessary to submit ballot items electronically. In addition, it is important that we collect as many e-mail addresses as possible for the members of the committee.

How To?

Submit your ballot item electronically on a disk or e-mail to your staff manager prior to the ballot deadline date.
1. Microsoft Word (any PC-compatible version) is the preferred software for documents, but we can accept documents in most editable electronic formats such as in Word Perfect or rtf (rich text format). Please note that formatting issues may arise with figures, equations, and tables with programs other than Microsoft Word.
2. Cover letters (required with any concurrent items or items on ballot for withdrawal) may be attached either as a separate file or embedded into the same file as the standard.
3. Please complete and attach a copy of the Ballot Item Submittal Form.


To assist you with revisions, ASTM will provide you with an electronic copy of the standard. You should request this from your staff manager or administrative assistant by e-mail or a phone call.

The document will be sent to you in rtf (rich text format). The document is most easily opened in Microsoft Word. It can, however, can be converted into other word processing software, but please note that formatting issues may arise with the figures, tables, and equations.

When making changes to the document, clearly show the revision. The preferred format is underlined text for insertions, strike out text for deletions, and revision bars in the margin. Microsoft Word has a utility in “Tools” called “Protection” that provides this function.

If you are only changing a small portion of the standard, you may choose to only ballot those sections. Please copy and paste the relevant sections into a separate document. If the sections should be broken down into separate items on the ballot, this should be clearly indicated. Please verify that the standard designation number and the exact year date is provided on the revision.

New Standards

To assist you with the development of new standards, ASTM has created draft standard templates. These can be obtained from the ASTM Web site, Click on Technical Committees/Membership, and go to “ASTM Standard Development Tools.”

Please include the draft standard tracking number, or the “Z number.” This number appears on the jurisdiction list for the subcommittee after the draft standard tracking form is completed. If you do not have this number, please contact your staff manager or administrative assistant.

Withdrawal of Standards

Send a cover letter including the rationale for withdrawal to your staff manager by the deadline date.


All that is required is the Ballot Item Submittal Form. For editorial changes, follow the section on revisions.

If you have any questions or need additional information about this initiative, please contact your staff manager. Your assistance in implementing this change to submission of ballot items electronically is greatly appreciated. //

Copyright 2001, ASTM

Bode Hennegan is a manager in the Technical Committee Operations Division.