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The EAC Takes Next Steps to Ensure Election Technology is Secure and Accessible with the Voluntary E-Poll Book Certification Program 

Election Administration

On December 4, 2023, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) voted to adopt the Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program (ESTEP) as a permanent division within the agency. This vote came because of the successful result of the 2023 EAC Voluntary Electronic Poll Book Pilot Program. ESTEP was first introduced in 2022 to evaluate the functionality, security, and accessibility of election-supporting technologies that are not covered under the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). The electronic poll book pilot was the first in a series of pilots that will be conducted by ESTEP. 

Electronic poll books, also known as e-poll books, are laptops, tablets, or kiosks designed to replace paper poll lists that access digital voter registration records for their representative jurisdiction and are primarily used by election workers. The objective of this pilot program was to evaluate e-poll books to draft standards the EAC designed in consultation with Mandiant and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Using these draft standards, systems were tested to ensure they are capable of providing a positive user experience, defending against network-related security threats, minimizing human errors, and making the check-in process more accessible and efficient for both voters and election workers. The results of the pilot program confirmed that the systems tested are election-ready for use in 2024 and would require only minor changes, such as added documentation, to meet the proposed baseline standards.  

On April 8, 2024, the Voluntary Electronic Poll Book Certification Program became official following the EAC Commissioners’ unanimous vote to adopt the Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program Manual Version 1.0 and the Voluntary Electronic Poll Book Certification Requirements Version 1.0. Both documents contained revisions based on pilot findings and public comments. These requirements will be used by Voting System Test Laboratories (VSTLs) to determine whether e-poll books submitted to the EAC for testing meet all requirements for federal certification. requirements for federal certification.  

ESTEP is now accepting form submissions to initiate the process for e-poll book testing. This process is open to any organization that manufactures or develops electronic poll books for purchase or use in the United States, including commercial or homegrown systems. More details about this process can be found on the Voluntary Electronic Poll Book Certification Program webpage. Although federal certification is voluntary, commercial and in-house manufacturers who wish to participate in the program must comply with its procedural requirements, outlined in the Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program Manual.  

ESTEP will next move forward with piloting Electronic Ballot Delivery Systems and Election Night Reporting Systems. In conducting these pilots, ESTEP is helping the EAC fulfill its mission to improve the administration of elections and enhance voter confidence.