The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Testing and Certification Program assists state and local election officials by providing voting machine testing and certification. This program is a requirement of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, legislation that created the EAC and mandated that the Commission provide certification, decertification, and recertification of voting systems, as well as the accreditation of voting system testing laboratories. This legislation marked the first time the federal government provided oversight for these activities, a step that allowed states to procure new certified voting systems without the added expense of independent testing and certification. While states are not required to participate in the program, some have enacted laws or have regulations that require a level of participation.
Prior to the passage of HAVA, voting systems were assessed and qualified by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), a nonpartisan association consisting of state level election directors nationwide. These voting systems were tested against the 1990 and 2002 voting system standards developed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). With HAVA's enactment, the responsibility for developing voting system standards was transferred from the FEC to the EAC and their new iterations are now the EAC Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.