Voting Machine Software Testing Lab Denied Accreditation in Summer 2006, Officials Not Informed until Jan. 2007
Christopher Drew, investigative reporter for The New York Times, reported in his article “U.S. Bars Lab From Testing Electronic Voting,” on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2007:
“A laboratory that has tested most of the nation’s electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests. The company [is] Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colorado…
Experts on voting systems say the Ciber problems underscore longstanding worries about lax inspections in the secretive world of voting-machine testing. The action by the federal Election Assistance Commission seems certain to fan growing concerns about the reliability and security of the devices.
The commission acted last summer, but the problem was not disclosed then. Officials at the commission and Ciber confirmed the action in recent interviews. Ciber, the largest tester of the nation’s voting machine software, says its fixing its problems and expects to gain certification soon…
As soon as federal officials began a new oversight program in July, they detected the problems with Ciber. The commission held up its application for interim accreditation, thus barring Ciber from approving new voting systems in most states… A spokeswoman for Ciber, Diane C. Stoner, said that the company believed that it had addressed all the problems and that it expected to receive its initial federal accreditation this month. Federal officials said they were evaluating the changes the company had made.
Ms. Stoner said in a statement that although the Election Assistance Commission had found deficiencies, they ‘were not because Ciber provided incomplete, inaccurate, or flawed testing, but because we did not document to the E.A.C.’s liking all of the testing that we were performing.’”
Jan. 4, 2007 Christopher Drew
Cara Matthews, Statehouse Correspondent for The Journal News, wrote in an article titled “Firm That Tests Voting Machines Not Accredited: State Cites Inadequacies,” on Friday, Jan. 5, 2007:
“State election officials said yesterday they need more information about why the federal Election Assistance Commission [EAC] has not accredited a voting machine-testing company… New York officials said they read in a published report this week that the Election Assistance Commission has known since last summer that there were inadequacies with the way Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colorado, was performing tests on machines and documenting results…
But Commissioner Gracia Hillman of the Election Assistance Commission said yesterday that there is no such report. Her agency has not taken any action on Ciber’s pending application for accreditation. The commission told the company it needed more information before it could act, and Ciber is in the process of providing that, she said. The federal commission recently began oversight of accreditation from an independent group, the National Association of State Election Directors.
‘We haven’t made any assessment as to their capability except that we wanted more information from them before we considered their application complete and ready for review,’ Hillman said.”
Jan. 5, 2007 Clara Matthews
John Gideon, Executive Director of VotersUnite!, wrote in his article “The EAC Now Admits ‘The Ciber Report’ Does Exist After All,” for The Brad Blog on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007:
“Contradictions have been flowing from the EAC in the considerable fallout from the New York Times report which revealed the [Election Assistance] Commission not only failed to accredit Ciber, they also failed to tell the public, or even state and local Elections Officials who used the systems approved by Ciber for last November’s election…
While at first the EAC had denied there was any paperwork documenting the reasons why they had denied interim accreditation to Ciber, I’ve now been able to learn from an EAC source that such paperwork actually exists. The EAC has simply, again, withheld it from the public…
There is a report. In fact there seems to be a lot of paperwork and that paperwork was the basis for the lack of accreditation. In a phone call with a source at the EAC I was told that… the report on Ciber, and all associated paperwork and correspondence, will not be released until the EAC reaches a final conclusion on their accreditation. It does exist and it will be released according to the source. An email from EAC spokeswoman Jeannie Layson confirmed this information:
‘The EAC will make the Ciber information available when the process is completed, and the information regarding the other labs will also be posted on our website. If you visit our website, you will see that we are in the process of building a separate certification section that will contain this information as well as information that is generated by our full certification program. We will share this information with election officials, including the State of New York.’”
Jan. 9, 2007 John Gideon
IV. “Senator Feinstein Seeks Answers From EAC On Unreported Failures At Voting Equipment Test Lab,” U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein Press Release and Letter to the Election Assistance Commission – Jan. 12, 2007
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, expressed her concern that the public was not notified of Ciber’s failure to receive accreditation in her Jan. 12, 2007 press release and letter to the Election Assistance Commission “Senator Feinstein Seeks Answers From EAC On Unreported Failures At Voting Equipment Test Lab” 9KB:
“According to recent news reports, the US Election Assistance Commission refused to accredit one of the three major voting equipment test labs in July or August, but did not notify the public, election officials, or Congress that it had significant reservation about the lab. The certification process to accredit these test labs was established by the Help America Vote Act…
I am writing about the failure of the Election Assistance Commission to provide timely information to election officials and the public about your Commission’s decision to withhold accreditation to Ciber Labs.
Until the New York Times published an article on Jan. 4 about the denial, election officials and the public were generally in the dark about the apparent failure by Ciber Labs to properly test electronic voting systems. This raises questions about the security and accuracy of our nation’s voting equipment.”
Jan. 12, 2007 Dianne Feinstein
- Is Qualification Testing Conducted by Independent and Accredited Entities?
- What Is the Difference between Qualification Testing and Certification Testing?
- What Standards Are Used to Test Electronic Voting Machines?