Permanent EAC Program Will Evaluate Other Election Technologies after Successful Electronic Poll Book Pilot
WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission voted unanimously to approve the establishment of the EAC’s Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program or ESTEP as a permanent part of the agency. Under the authority of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the EAC created ESTEP to establish requirements and guidelines specific to election technologies that are not covered under the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). In February of 2023, ESTEP launched an Electronic Poll Book Pilot Program which will serve as a model for other certification programs for technologies like election night reporting databases, voter registration portals and databases, and electronic ballot delivery systems.
At the EAC’s December 4th Virtual Meeting, the Commissioners heard a presentation on summary findings from the E-Poll Book Pilot Program and recommendations for next steps for ESTEP. The EAC Commissioners held a vote to adopt the Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program as a permanent EAC program. The motion was unanimously approved.
Chairwoman Christy McCormick, Vice Chair Ben Hovland, Commissioner Donald Palmer, and Commissioner Thomas Hicks issued the following joint statement.
“The security of election supporting technology is of critical importance to fulfilling the EAC’s mission, and programs like the Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program help to ensure elections remain accurate and secure. ESTEP has already proven itself integral to the EAC’s work to improve the administration of elections and enhance voter confidence. This vote represents the agency’s ongoing commitment and investment in expanding our services to election officials and being responsive to what we have heard from Congress, election officials, and other stakeholders. The lessons learned during the e-poll book pilot provide a road map to expand certification processes managed by ESTEP and will allow the EAC to develop similar efforts for other growing technologies.”
ESTEP has already initiated the next steps for testing and certifying e-poll books on the federal level, which involves revising the Voluntary Electronic Poll Book Requirements to incorporate baseline functional requirements based on state and local standards. In addition, ESTEP has developed supporting administrative guidelines in the Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program Manual, to assist manufacturers and voting system test laboratories with adherence to program expectations. EAC Commissioners will formally vote on these two documents once the period of public comment has concluded on December 14, 2023. ESTEP continues to work closely with the EAC’s research specialists to enhance data collection methods during the 2024 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) reporting for e-poll books to further improve the nation’s understanding of the use of these critical systems. Following the e-poll book pilot, ESTEP plans to move forward with piloting blank electronic ballot delivery systems.
About the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. The EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.