United States Election Assistance Comittee

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EAC Certifies ES&S Unity Voting System

Posted on March 29, 2011

Correction: An earlier version of this release mistakenly omitted the Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect 1.0 system from the list of EAC-certified systems.

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has certified the Unity voting system by Election Systems and Software (ES&S) to the 2002 Voting System Standards. It is the fifth voting system to achieve federal certification under EAC’s Voting System Testing and Certification Program.

The Unity comprises two precinct-based optical scanners—the M100 and the DS200—and one central-count scanner, the M650. The accessible voting device for this system is the AutoMark. EAC issued federal certification for the Unity system after ES&S demonstrated compliance with the following final certification requirements, which complete EAC’s comprehensive testing process:

  • Rebuild the voting system in a trusted environment, known as a “trusted build” (an act performed by an EAC-accredited test lab)

  • Provide software identification tools to EAC so that whomever purchases the system can verify its authenticity

  • Provide voting system software for the EAC repository 

  • Agree in writing to comply with all EAC certification conditions and program requirements

Launched in 2007, EAC’s certification program marks the first time the federal government has certified voting systems. The program is authorized by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and is entirely voluntary—states are not required to use EAC-certified voting systems, or to test their systems against federal standards. At least 13 states require the use of federally-certified voting machines.

An EAC certification means that a voting system has met the requirements of the applicable federal guidelines by passing a series of tests conducted by a federally-accredited test laboratory. Manufacturers of certified systems must also meet technical and conflict of interest standards that ensure the integrity of the process and the system as it goes from the test lab to production and into the marketplace.

Laboratory test plans and test reports for the Unity are posted at www.eac.gov along with an outline describing each step of the certification process.

The four voting systems previously certified by EAC are the MicroVote EMS 4.0, a direct recording electronic (DRE) device; the ES&S Unity optical-scan system; the Premier Assure 1.2 with optical-scan and DRE technology; and the Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect 1.0 optical-scan system.

Quality Monitoring

EAC monitors all federally certified voting systems that are used in federal elections, conducting regular site visits and reviews of all deployed systems. Manufacturers must also submit reports to EAC in any case where a certified system experiences an irregularity, and notify EAC of any modifications to a system’s hardware, software or firmware.

EAC notifies the public about testing and certification updates through automatic e-alerts, weekly newsletters, press releases and frequent updates to EAC.gov. The public can access thousands of documents about testing and certification, including test plans and reports, correspondence, registered participants and other program information. A video describing the testing and certification process is also available at EAC.gov.

EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act. EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The two EAC commissioners are Gineen Bresso and Donetta Davidson. There are two vacancies on the commission.