EAC issues certifying voting systems guide

The Election Assistance Commission has released a draft of its Testing and Certification Program Manual for voting systems and is seeking public comment throughout the month.

The 67-page document spells out procedures for certifying systems under its voluntary standards for electronic voting systems.

"Although participation in the program is voluntary, adherence to the program's procedural requirements is mandatory for participants," the commission said.

Because U.S. elections are conducted locally, there are no national requirements for voting systems. But the Federal Election Commission produced a set of voluntary standards for computer-based systems in 1990, which have been administered by the National Association of State Election Directors. In 2002 the Help America Vote Act created the EAC and put the commission in charge of a testing-and-certification program for election equipment.

EAC has produced its own Voluntary Voting System Guidelines and is establishing the program for testing and certification. Under the proposed program, independent labs accredited by EAC will do the testing. Voting system manufacturers participating in the program will register with EAC and submit systems for testing, and lab results will be analyzed by EAC.

Manufacturers also will have to document the development process for its systems and deposit software in a repository.

Comments on the manual must be received by 5 p.m. ET, Oct. 31.

William Jackson is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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