Bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) have been suggested as a new technology for wastewater treatment while accomplishing energy and chemical generation. This study describes the performance of BESs based on mixed culture that are capable of reducing carbon dioxide to acetate. The cathode potential was a critical factor that affected the performance of the BESs. The rate of acetate production increased as the electrode potential became more negative, from 0.38 mM d-1 (-900 mV vs. Ag/AgCl) to 2.35 mM d-1 (-1,100 mV), while the electron recovery efficiency of carbon dioxide reduction to acetate increased from 53.6% to 89.5%. The microbial population was dominated by relatives of Acetobacterium woodii when a methanogenic inhibitor was added to the BESs initially.