May 20, 2022
Washington DC – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) approved an Engineering Change Order (ECO) that addresses a voting machine anomaly reported to the EAC by Unisyn Voting Solutions. The incident occurred in six counties in Missouri during a municipal election on April 5, 2022.
The anomaly in Missouri was caused by a bug in the software specific to the precinct scanner close poll process. After voting concluded on Election Day, the close process was initiated on the machines by scanning a special “Close” card. While the vote tally was in progress on the machines, if the “Close” card was scanned a second time, two tally processes would run concurrently. This caused all vote totals shown in the printed tally report to double and the electronic tally file would be unreadable by the central tabulation system. Per standard practice, the ballots were recounted on different systems and uploaded in central tabulation, so the anomaly had no impact on the results of the election.
Unisyn notified the EAC of the anomaly on April 8, 2022. Both Unisyn and the EAC reached out to impacted jurisdictions to inform them of the situation. Additionally, all impacted jurisdictions were notified by Unisyn that there is an alternative close poll process for the scanner that does not exhibit the anomaly and should be the only close poll procedure used until a permanent fix is tested and approved by the EAC.
A root cause analysis report was submitted to the EAC by Unisyn on April 11, 2022. A fix for the anomaly was subsequently received by the EAC as an ECO on April 22, 2022. This fix has been thoroughly evaluated by the EAC’s Testing and Certification Division and voting system test lab and deemed a satisfactory resolution to this issue.
EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks, Vice Chair Christy McCormick, Commissioner Ben Hovland, and Commissioner Donald Palmer issued the following joint statement on the matter “The immediate steps Unisyn took to notify the EAC helped this issue be identified, resolved, and impacted jurisdictions be notified quickly. This kind of response ensures election officials can address these issues as they arise and should give confidence to the American public that there are safeguards in place to effectively address voting system anomalies.”
As part of the EAC’s mandate established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the agency routinely tests and certifies election machine technology for official use by states and localities around the country. As anomalies or issues arise, the EAC will be formally notified. In this instance, initiation of a formal investigation by the EAC was not necessary as Unisyn promptly reported the issue along with a root cause analysis that identified the source of the anomaly, allowing for a fix to be evaluated and approved in a timely manner.