EAC suspends SysTest

New York State Could Halt Voting Machine Testing - Again

The US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced today that the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) has suspended SysTest’s accreditation. SysTest is the testing vendor currently performing New York State certification testing of two ballot scanners selected by New York State counties. SysTest was suspended “due to numerous non-conformities with the NIST Handbook 150-22 Voting System Testing, which sets forth the procedures, requirements and guidance for the accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories by the National Voting Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP). Non-conformities included failure to create and validate test methods, improper documentation of testing and unqualified personnel.”

New York State has been here before - in December 2006 the state halted testing when it learned that its testing contractor, CIBER, had been denied accreditation by the EAC. SysTest was hired after the State Board of Elections canceled its contract with CIBER after it too failed to receive EAC accreditation.

It is likely that New York State will again suspend certification testing of new voting machines as one of the conditions of SysTest’s contract with the state requires that it maintain federal accreditation. So far, the voting systems being tested have had numerous problems during testing and have been unable to pass many of New York State’s rigorous standards.

Of course, the reaction of the Department and Justice and US District Court Judge Gary Sharpe to this development remains to be seen, as this virtually guarantees that machine certification to New York’s high standards cannot be completed in time for rollout in the September 2009 primary, as currently called for by the Court ordered schedule.

Once again we see how broken the electronic voting industry is – from system vendors who produce flawed products which fail at alarming rates and can’t meet New York’s standards, to the testing contractors that have facilitated acceptance of this alarmingly low level of quality and security.

Read the EAC announcement here:


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