Wisconsin Using Voting Machines Connected To Uncertified Modems
The federal Election Assistance Commission has admonished Election Systems & Software, the nation’s leading voting-machine maker, for falsely claiming that their machines were EAC-certified, according to Politico.
- ES&S stated that its machines were sanctioned by the EAC under its testing and certification program on its promotional literature and on its website. These false statements put ES&S in violation of the EAC’s testing and certification rules, and the EAC directed ES&S to revise their literature.
- Certain states require that machines be EAC-certified to be used in an election. If non-certified systems are being used, it could put election officials in violation of state law.
- Susan Greenhalgh, senior adviser on election security for Free Speech for People, the group that brought the issue to the EAC, said:
“The action by the EAC is welcome, but it’s not enough, vendors need to be hReport: Wisconsin Will Be Using Voting Machines Connected To Uncertified Modemseld accountable for their deceptions and it’s time for Congress to exercise oversight of this industry to protect our democracy.”
Politico reported that the matter “involves ES&S’ DS200 precinct-based optical-scan machines, which come in two versions — one of which has an optional modem for transmitting results after an election.”
- “The EAC certified the DS200 version without modem capability in 2009, but it has never certified the modem capability that comes with the second version, although the remaining components in that system are certified,” the news outlet reported.
- In marketing literature for the DS200, ES&S offers the modem capability as an optional feature but does not indicate that the feature is not EAC certified.
- According to Politico, “Under the EAC’s testing and certification rules, manufacturers can label a system EAC-certified only if the whole system is certified.”
- The EAC “sent ES&S a letter in January indicating it was violating the EAC testing and certification program rules,” and “the company agreed to remove all references to optional modems from its marketing documents.”
- However, the EAC determined this was insufficient and “instructed the company to recall all misleading marketing materials already in circulation and to directly notify current and potential customers who received the ‘misrepresented information’ that it had been inaccurate.”
“Failure to comply will result in the EAC publicly announcing that the voting system no longer complies with its original certification, and could include initiating decertification actions and/or suspension of manufacturer registration,” wrote Jerome Lovato, director of the EAC’s testing and certification program.
- Politico reported that “A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Election Commission, whose state is known to use DS200 machines with modems, told POLITICO it did receive the letter from ES&S in early April”; however, other jurisdictions known to have purchased the systems with the modem feature that were contacted by Politico did not respond to inquiries.
The company has previously said that more than 33,000 DS200 optical scan machines with modems are in use in 11 states and the District of Columbia but has never identified which jurisdictions this includes beyond D.C.