Commissioner Masterson on Aging Voting Technology
Sep 17, 2015
Recently a report was released discussing the current state of voting technology across the United States as we head in to the 2016 Election Cycle, which covers elections for many offices, from President to statewide offices to school boards. Pam Fessler of NPR (a reporter who has spent years reporting on election administration issues and talking to state and local election officials) summed up the report, "Voting machines around the United States are coming to the end of their useful lives. Breakdowns are increasingly common. Spare parts are difficult, if not impossible, to find."
This report was not news to election officials across the country as they have worked to cope with aging voting technology for several years now. In fact, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) highlighted the issue when they discussed the ""widespread wearing out of voting machines purchased a decade ago."
Since being sworn-in the EAC Commissioners have traveled across the country listening to state and local election officials. The issue of aging voting technology is at the top of the list of concerns that election officials have. In response to this the EAC is now focused on providing easy to use resources and information for election officials to maintain their own equipment and purchase new voting technology. Just a few examples of the information that EAC has available are:
- 10 things you should know about maintaining your aging voting technology.
- 10 things you should know about purchasing new voting equipment.
- A RFP repository where election officials can see what their peers across the country are requiring of new systems for purchase.
- A clearinghouse of system advisory notices highlighting issues experienced in the field.
- Test plans and reports from the EAC testing and certification program to help election officials understand how systems did during test campaigns.
- State voting system reports clearinghouse, which provides information on state level testing, requirements and evaluations of systems.
- Information on contingency planning should emergencies occur just before or during Election Day.
- Managing change in elections including implementing new voting technology in your election office.
In addition EAC worked with several state and local election offices to create RFP’s for the purchase of new voting technology. These RFP’s are the greatest tool election officials have to ensure that new voting technology will meet their needs and the needs of their voters. These RFP’s are available on the EAC’s website so others can benefit from this information.
Moving forward the EAC will remain focused on providing as much information as possible on maintaining and testing aging voting technology, as well as purchasing new systems. Please reach out to us if you need more information or support as we head in to 2016. We are here to be a resource for you.