Data file or set of files that contain geographic information about political subdivisions and boundaries, all contests and questions to be included in an election, and the candidates for each contest.
Inspection by an accredited test laboratory that compares the voting system components submitted for certification testing to the vendor’s technical documentation and confirms that the documentation submitted meets the national certification requirements. Includes witnessing of the build of the executable system to ensure that the certified release is built from the tested components
Statement by a vendor declaring that a specific product conforms to a particular standard or set of standard profiles; for voting systems, NASED qualification or EAC certification provides independent verification of a claim.
Systematic, independent, documented process for obtaining records, statements of fact or other relevant information and assessing them objectively to determine the extent to which specified requirements are fulfilled.
Replaced by “accredited testing laboratories” and “test labs.” Prior usage referred to independent testing organizations accredited by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to perform voting system qualification testing.
Examination and testing of a voting system by a NASED-accredited independent testing authority to determine if the system conforms to the performance and other requirements of the national certification standards and the vendor’s own specifications.
Selecting the specific contests and questions to be contained in a ballot format and related instructions; preparing and testing election-specific software containing these selections; producing all possible ballot formats; and validating the correctness of ballot materials and software containing these selections for an upcoming election.
Invulnerability of the system to accidental intervention or deliberate, fraudulent manipulation that would result in errors in the processing of data. It is distinguished from data accuracy that encompasses internal, system-generated errors.
(1) Authoritative body that performs accreditation. (2) An independent organization responsible for assessing the performance of other organizations against a recognized standard, and for formally confirming the status of those that meet the standard.
An inquiry into the potential existence of security flaws in a voting system. Includes an analysis of the system's software, firmware, and hardware, as well as the procedures associated with system development, deployment, operation and management. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-17
Technical operation that consists of the determination of one or more characteristics of a given product, process or service according to a specified procedure. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-18
An asymmetric key operation where the private key is used to digitally sign an electronic document and the public key is used to verify the signature. Digital signatures provide data authentication and integrity protection.
(1) Extent to which a given set of measurements of the same sample agree with their mean. Thus, precision is commonly taken to be the standard deviation estimated from sets of duplicate measurements made under conditions of repeatability, that is, independent test results obtained with the same method on identical test material, in the same laboratory or test facility, by the same operator using the same equipment within short intervals of time. (2) Degree of refinement in measurement or specification, especially as represented by the number of digits given.
An electronic voting system that utilizes electronic components for the functions of ballot presentation, vote capture, vote recording, and tabulation which are logically and physically integrated into a single unit. A DRE produces a tabulation of the voting data stored in a removable memory component and in printed hardcopy. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-9
Examination and testing of a computerized voting system by using test methods to determine if the system complies with the requirements in the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines and with its own specifications.
Exhaustive verification of every system function and combination of functions cited in the vendor’s documentation. The FCA verifies the accuracy and completeness of the system’s voter manual, operations procedures, maintenance procedures, and diagnostic testing procedures. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-11
Particular set of contests to appear on the ballot for a particular election district, their order, the list of ballot positions for each contest, and the binding of candidate names to ballot positions.
A function that maps a bit string of arbitrary length to a fixed-length bit string. Approved hash functions satisfy the following properties: 1. (one-way) It is computationally infeasible to find any input that maps to any pre-specified output, and 2. (collision-resistant) It is computationally infeasible to find any two distinct inputs that map to the same output.
With respect to an individual: (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; (3) being regarded as having such an impairment (definition from the Americans with Disabilities Act).
Contiguous geographic area represented by a public official who is elected by voters residing within the district boundaries. The district may cover an entire state or political subdivision, may be a portion of the state or political subdivision, or may include portions of more than one political subdivision.
The concrete presentation of the contents of a ballot appropriate to the particular voting technology being used. The contents may be rendered using various methods of presentation (visual or audio), language or graphics.
A human readable record, resident on the voting machine, used to track all activities of that machine. This log records every activity performed on or by the machine indicating the event and when it happened.
The mechanical, electromechanical and electric components of a voting system that the voter uses to view the ballot, indicate his/her selections, and verify those selections. In some instances, the voting machine also casts and tabulates the votes.
Election administration division corresponding to a contiguous geographic area that is the basis for determining which contests and issues the voters legally residing in that area are eligible to vote on.
A number issued by NASED (National Association of State Election Directors) to a system that has been tested by an accredited independent testing authority for compliance with the voting system standards. Issuance of a qualification number indicates that the system conforms to the national standards.
A central absentee precinct (CAP) is a precinct established in the courthouse or other public building in a county or city for the receiving, counting and recording of absentee ballots cast in the county or city.
Primary election in which voters receive a ballot listing only those candidates running for office in the political party with which the voters are affiliated. In some states, non-partisan contests and ballot issues may be included. In some cases, political parties may allow unaffiliated voters to vote in their party’s primary.
Record that reflects the total votes cast for and against a specific ballot issue. This record is augmented as each ballot is cast on a DRE or as digital signals from the conversion of voted paper ballots are logically interpreted and recorded
Examination of a product design, product, process or installation and determination of its conformity with specific requirements or, on the basis of professional judgment, with general requirements. Inspection of a process may include inspection of staffing, facilities, technology and methodology. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-12
Voting system feature that allows the voter to verify at least one representation of his or her ballot with his/her own senses, not using any software or hardware intermediary. Examples include a Marksense paper ballot and a DRE with a voter verifiable paper record feature.
Activities involving the handling of cryptographic keys and other related security parameters (e.g., passwords) during the entire life cycle of the keys, including their generation, storage, establishment, entry and output, and zeroization.
Element within a larger system; a component can be hardware or software. For hardware, it is a physical part of a subsystem that can be used to compose larger systems (e.g., circuit boards, internal modems, processors, computer memory). For software, it is a module of executable code that performs a well-defined function and interacts with other components.
Process that allows voters to remove elected representatives from office prior to the expiration of their terms of office. The recall may involve not only the question of whether a particular officer should be removed, but also the question of naming a successor in the event that there is an affirmative vote for the recall.
All software, hardware (including facilities, furnishings and fixtures), materials, documentation, and the interface used by the election personnel, maintenance operator, poll worker, and voter, required for voting equipment operations
Endorsement of a single candidate or slate of candidates by more than one political party. The candidate or slate appears on the ballot representing each endorsing political party. Also referred to as cross-party endorsement.
Voting system feature that allows a voter to verify his or her selections via a hardware or software intermediary. An example is a touch screen DRE where the voter verifies the ballot selections through the assistance of audio stimuli.
Testing of the tabulator setups of a new election definition to ensure that the content correctly reflects the election being held (i.e., contests, candidates, number to be elected, ballot styles) and that all voting positions can be voted for the maximum number of eligible candidates and that results are accurately tabulated and reported.
System by which votes are recorded by means of marks made in voting response fields designated on one or both faces of a ballot card or series of cards. An optical scan system reads and tabulates ballots, usually paper ballots, by scanning the ballot and interpreting the contents. Also known as Marksense.
Subsystem within a voting system which communicates ballot information to a voter in video, audio or other alternative format which allows the voter to select candidates and issues by means of vocalization or physical actions.
Election to select a winner following a primary or a general election in which no candidate in the contest received the required minimum percentage of the votes cast. The two candidates receiving the most votes for the contest in question proceed to the run-off election.
A voting system that tabulates ballots from multiple precincts at a central location. Voted ballots are placed into secure storage at the polling place. Stored ballots are transported or transmitted to a central counting place which produces the vote count report.
Process of testing an implementation against the requirements specified in one or more standards. The outcomes of a conformance test are generally a pass or fail result, possibly including reports of problems encountered during the execution. Also known as certification testing.
An electronic voting system is one or more integrated devices that utilize an electronic component for one or more of the following functions: ballot presentation, vote capture, vote recording, and tabulation. A DRE is a functionally and physically integrated electronic voting system which provides all four functions electronically in a single device. An optical scan (also known as Marksense) system where the voter marks a paper ballot with a marking instrument and then deposits the ballot in a tabulation device is partially electronic in that the paper ballot provides the presentation, vote capture and vote recording functions. An optical scan system employing a ballot marking device adds a second electronic component for ballot presentation and vote capture functions.
(1) Extent to which a given measurement agrees with an accepted standard for that measurement. (2) Closeness of the agreement between the result of a measurement and a true value of the particular quantity subject to measurement. Accuracy is a qualitative concept and is not interchangeable with precision. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-4
Management, operational, and technical controls (i.e., safeguards or countermeasures) prescribed for an information system to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the system and its information
Sum of the work by a voting system test lab on a single product or system from contract through test plan, conduct of testing for each requirement (including hardware, software, and systems), reporting, archiving, and responding to issues afterwards.
Commercial, readily available hardware devices (such as card readers, printers or personal computers) or software products (such as operating systems, programming language compilers, or database management systems).
Voting system that records votes, counts votes, and tabulates the vote count, using one or more ballot cards or paper ballots. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-14
Examination of a voting system and its components by the purchasing election authority (usually in a simulated-use environment) to validate performance of delivered units in accordance with procurement requirements, and to validate that the delivered system is, in fact, the certified system purchased.
Standards for federal computer systems developed by NIST. These standards are developed when there are no existing industry standards to address federal requirements for system interoperability, portability of data and software, and computer security.
Voter interface designed to not require visual reading of a ballot. Audio is used to convey information to the voter and sensitive tactile controls allow the voter to communicate ballot selections to the voting system.
Ballot provided to individuals who claim they are registered and eligible to vote but whose eligibility or registration status cannot be confirmed when they present themselves to vote. Once voted , such ballots must be kept separate from other ballots and are not included in the tabulation until after the voter’s eligibility is confirmed. Michigan is an exception in that they determine voter eligibility before a ballot is issued.
An element of configuration management, consisting of the recording and reporting of information needed to manage a configuration effectively. This includes a listing of the approved configuration identification, the status of proposed changes to the configuration, and the implementation status of approved changes.
Discipline that embodies the principles, means, and methods for the transformation of data in order to hide their semantic content, prevent their unauthorized use, prevent their undetected modification and establish their authenticity.
Term used to designate the group of people associated with elections, including election personnel, poll workers, ballot designers and those responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of the voting systems.
Report of results of independent testing of a voting system by an independent testing authority documenting the specific system configuration tested, the scope of tests conducted and when testing was completed.
Measurable characteristics that indicate the degree to which a system is available to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. The most common disabilities include those associated with vision, hearing and mobility, as well as cognitive disabilities.
Re-examination, and possibly retesting of a voting system that was modified subsequent to receiving national and/or state certification. The object of this is to determine if the system as modified still conforms to the requirements.
A specific place in a ballot where a voter's selection for a particular contest may be indicated. Positions may be connected to row and column numbers on the face of a voting machine or ballot, particular bit positions in a binary record of a ballot (for example, an electronic ballot image), the equivalent in some other form. Ballot positions are bound to specific contests and candidate names by the ballot configuration.
(1) Data accuracy is defined in terms of ballot position error rate. This rate applies to the voting functions and supporting equipment that capture, record, store, consolidate and report the specific selections, and absence of selections, made by the voter for each ballot position. (2) The system's ability to process voting data absent internal errors generated by the system. It is distinguished from data integrity, which encompasses errors introduced by an outside source.
A voting system that tabulates ballots at the polling place. These systems typically tabulate ballots as they are cast and print the results after the close of polling. For DREs, and for some paper-based systems, these systems provide electronic storage of the vote count and may transmit results to a central location over public telecommunication networks.
To make a selection of an individual not listed on the ballot. In some jurisdictions, voters may do this by using a marking device to physically write their choice on the ballot or they may use a keypad, touch screen or other electronic means to enter the name.
Contest in which multiple candidates can run, up to a specified number of seats. Voters may vote for no more than the specified number of candidates. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-13
Effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which a specified set of users can achieve a specified set of tasks in a particular environment. Usability in the context of voting refers to voters being able to cast valid votes as they intended quickly, without errors, and with confidence that their ballot choices were recorded correctly. It also refers to the usability of the setup and operation in the polling place of voting equipment.
The total combination of mechanical, electromechanical or electronic equipment (including the software, firmware, and documentation required to program, control, and support the equipment) that is used to define ballots; to cast and count votes; to report or display election results; and to maintain and produce any audit trail information; and the practices and associated documentation used to identify system components and versions of such components; to test the system during its development and maintenance; to maintain records of system errors and defects; to determine specific system changes to be made to a system after the initial qualification of the system; and to make available any materials to the voter (such as notices, instructions, forms or paper ballots).
Test laboratory accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) to be competent to test voting systems. When NVLAP has completed its evaluation of a test lab, the Director of NIST will forward a recommendation to the EAC for the completion of the accreditation process.
Primary election in which any voters can participate, regardless of their political affiliation. Some states require voters to publicly declare their choice of party ballot at the polling place, after which the poll worker provides or activates the appropriate ballot. Other states allow the voters to make their choice of party ballot within the privacy of the voting booth.
Election held to determine which candidate will represent a political party for a given office in the general election. Some states have an open primary, while others have a closed primary. Sometimes elections for nonpartisan offices and ballot issues are held during primary elections. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-15
Discipline applying technical and administrative direction and surveillance to identify and document functional and physical characteristics of a configuration item, control changes to these characteristics, record and report change processing and implementation status, and verify compliance with specified requirements.
Set of processing functions and databases within a voting system that defines, develops and maintains election databases, performs election definitions and setup functions, format ballots, count votes, consolidates and report results, and maintains audit trails. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-10
Ballot provided to individuals who claim they are registered and eligible to vote but whose eligibility or registration status cannot be confirmed when they present themselves to vote. Once voted, such ballots must be kept separate from other ballots and are not included in the tabulation until after the voter’s eligibility is confirmed. In some jurisdictions this is called an affidavit ballot.
System by which votes are recorded by means of marks made in voting response fields designated on one or both faces of a ballot card or series of cards. Marksense systems may use an optical scanner or similar sensor to read the ballots. Also known as optical scan.
Inductive coil used in some hearing aids to allow reception of an audio band magnetic field signal, instead of an acoustic signal. The magnetic or inductive mode of reception is commonly used in conjunction with telephones, auditorium loop systems and other systems that provide the required magnetic field output.
Ability of the system to capture, record, store, consolidate and report the specific selections and absence of selections, made by the voter for each ballot position without error. Required accuracy is defined in terms of an error rate that for testing purposes represents the maximum number of errors allowed while processing a specified volume of data.
All the executable code and associated configuration files needed for the proper operation of the voting system. This includes third party software such as operating systems, drivers, and database management tools. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-20
Process of evaluating a system or component to determine whether the products of a given development phase satisfy the conditions (such as specifications) imposed at the start of the phase. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-19
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