Certification guide for voting systems available

The Election Assistance Commission has released a pamphlet for state and local election officials outlining the basics of certifying voting systems to EAC guidelines.

The Quick Start Management Guide for Voting System Certification is part of a series of management guides designed to highlight individual chapters of the EAC's Election Management Guidelines. The EMG will consolidate guidelines for state and local officials into a single document, expected to be completed in 2008. But because of the urgent need for the information it is being released in Quick Start pamphlets as it is completed. The guidelines are informational and are not requirements for election officials.

Before the end of 2007, EAC expects to issue Quick Start guides on acceptance, pre-election and parallel testing, military and overseas voting, absentee voting, contingency and disaster planning, ballot design, developing an audit trail and polling place-vote center management.

The system certification guide covers certification procedures at the federal level along with information about participating in the program, and provides suggestions for implementing effective certification procedures at the local and state level. This includes verification of nontechnical issues such as qualification and ownership. It also includes information about acceptance testing and other security procedures.

Until 2002, when the Help America Vote Act gave the job of overseeing certification of voting systems to the EAC, it was handled by the National Association of State Election Directors. In December 2005, EAC adopted the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines to replace older Federal Election Commission standards used by NASED. Until December 2007, voting systems can be certified under either the FEC 2002 standards or the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines. After that time, only the 2005 guidelines may be used. Certifications under the 2002 standards will remain valid, however.

Voting systems certified under the 2005 guidelines will be listed on the EAC Web site at http://www.eac.gov. As the name implies, the EAC guidelines are voluntary and certification is not required. To request copies of the Quick Start guide or for more information, election officials can contact EAC at (866) 747-1471 or e-mail at HAVAinfo@eac.gov.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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