NIST checking out labs for voting systems

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has begun an accreditation program for laboratories that want to evaluate voting systems under the Help America Vote Act.

The 2002 act contains standards that must be met, beginning in 2006, for mechanical, electromechanical and electronic voting systems used in federal elections.

These standards include: a method to let voters verify and correct their votes before the ballot is cast, a paper audit trail that will serve as the official record of the election in the event of a recount, accessibility for persons with disabilities and non-English speakers, and a test error rate of not more than one error in 500,000 ballot positions.

The Election Assistance Commission enforces the standards, but accreditation of test labs is being done by NIST under the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program. NVLAP accreditation is a requirement for final certification by the Election Assistance Commission.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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