SysTest Labs under Fire For Shoddy Methods & Collusion with Vendors
by Rady Ananda
August 15, 2008
SysTest Labs, LLC, one of two federal testing labs responsible for certifying our nation's voting systems, is under investigation for failing to document or validate its test methods. The lab is also accused of using unqualified personnel to run these highly technical tests. Emails from the lab indicate possible collusion with another voting system vendor, ES&S, whereby SysTest's "test approach takes into consideration" actions that will "ensure certification"
of the M650 and M100 optical scanners being tested for Ohio.
On July 16th, Ron Thomas of SysTest sent an email to Election Systems & Software (ES&S) regarding the ongoing certification of two of ES&S' optical scan voting systems being used in Ohio, by setting the goals of speedy tests and ensuring certification. On July 25th, the EAC took exception to Thomas' email that:"contains language in which SysTest sets a goal 'to ensure certification' of (a) manufacturer's system. This statement may be read as an inappropriate promise of certification."
The EAC then warned SysTest that EAC-accredited Voting System Test Labs "are responsible for the independent testing of a voting system to the appropriate standards and should not have as the end goal the certification of the voting system." NIST and the EAC put SysTest on administrative oversight. These violations, if true, could result in revocation of SysTest's accreditation as a federal voting system certification lab.
Adding to SysTest's woes with NIST and the EAC, SysTest approved*** Sequoia/Dominion's ImageCast ballot marking device for use in New York, which sports a convenient slotted hole that enables ballot stuffing into the locked ballot box.
Wilms Notes: While SysTest is testing
the ImageCast for New York State, they have not completed that work, nor have they given final approval. However the Ballot Marking part of the system (complete with ballot stuffing slot) has been approved for use on an experimental basis.see also:NY: Paper-Ballot Box Stuffing -- With An Electronic Voting System! (Op Scan)http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=385x170181