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March/April 2010

Voting and Classification

Both new and longtime ASTM International members have questions about voting status and classification. Here is a review of sections 6-8 of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees, which describe the voting status of all ASTM members and the balance that committees achieve through classification.


Section 6 provides rules on who can vote and how each vote counts. An official vote is defined as, “in a committee or subcommittee, one cast by a voting member on a ballot or motion, and that is used for calculating the numerical voting requirements of these regulations.”

A voting interest is defined as “an organization, a subsidiary of an organization or an unassociated individual member having a distinctly separate interest from any other interests with regard to the scope of a committee or subcommittee,” while a voting member “has the official vote on ballots and motions concerned with ASTM standards.”

While each voting interest is allowed one voting member, the Regulations also define non-official voting member, “whose votes and comments on all ballots or motions shall be fully considered, but whose votes are not included in the calculation of the numerical voting requirements for standards.”

Each ASTM member, whether an official voting member or not, can vote on all Society Review items as well as on each ballot of a main committee and subcommittee to which the member belongs. Negatives and comments submitted from all ballot returns, from official and non-official voting members alike, shall be considered.


Committees and subcommittees developing standards that deal with materials, products, systems or services that are offered for sale are required to be classified and balanced. This requirement means that members must be classified as one of the following, as defined in Section 7 of the Regulations:

  • Producer — A member who represents a voting interest that produces or sells materials, products, systems or services covered in the committee or subcommittee scope.
  • User — A member who represents a voting interest that purchases or users materials, products, systems or services other than for household user covered in the committee or subcommittee scope provided the member can’t be classified as a producer.
  • Consumer — A member who primarily purchases or represents those who purchase products and services for household use within the committee or subcommittee scope.
  • General interest — A member who cannot be categorized as a producer, user or consumer.

User and general interest classifications are composed of multiple interest categories, such as government, academia, testing laboratories and consultants.

The Regulations define balance as “in a classified committee or subcommittee, when the combined number of voting user, consumer and general interest members equals or exceeds the number of voting producer members.”

Each classified committee is required to provide for the annual review of the classification of its voting members so that appropriate changes can be made based on changes in the nature of the committee’s scope or change in the interests of its members.

The Regulations can be found by clicking here. Also, roster reporting and maintenance tools are available here.