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Subject: NIST to begin accrediting labs for voting system evaluations


The National Institute of Standards and Technology has begun an
accreditation program for laboratories that want to evaluate voting systems
under the Help America Vote Act.

The 2002 act contains standards that must be met, beginning in 2006, for
mechanical, electromechanical and electronic voting systems used in federal
elections. These standards include:
  a.. A method to let voters verify and correct their votes before the
ballot is cast
  b.. A paper audit trail that will serve as the official record of the
election in the event of a recount
  c.. Accessibility for persons with disabilities and non-English speakers
  d.. A test error rate of not more than one error in 500,000 ballot
The Election Assistance Commission enforces the standards, but accreditation
of test labs is being done by NIST under the National Voluntary
Accreditation Program (NVLAP).

NIST announced plans for the program one year ago and held a public workshop
on the plans in August. NVLAP accreditation is a requirement for final
certification by the Election Assistance Commission.

Applications are available and must be submitted by Aug. 16 for the first
evaluation group. The first evaluations are expected to begin Sept. 15.
Applications received after the initial deadline will be considered on an
as-received basis. Laboratories must pay a nonrefundable, one-time
application fee, as well as an on-site assessment fee and an annual
technical-administrative support fee.

Requirements and forms are available by calling (301) 975-4016; by writing
to Voting System Testing Program Manager, NIST/NVLAP, 100 Bureau Dr., mail
stop 2140, Gaithersburg, MD, 20899-2140; or by e-mailing nvlap@nist.gov.

For more information contact Jeffrey Horlick of NVLAP at

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