Voting System Certification Guidelines

 


Requirements  Summary    |    Examination Guidelines    |    Questions ?

 
 
 
 



I. Summary of Voting System Certification Requirements for South Carolina
 

 

To receive certification of a voting system in South Carolina, you must:

1. Receive qualification by a certified Independent Testing Authority (ITA) accredited by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) and the State Election Commission (SEC) as meeting or exceeding the minimum requirements of the national voting system standards.
   
** This requirement also applies to revisions of software, firmware or hardware of systems certified prior to July 1, 1999.
 
2. Pay a non-refundable examination fee of $1000.00 for a new voting system and $500.00 for an upgrade to any existing certified system.
 
3. Submit the system for examination and testing by the SEC in Columbia. System configuration for this process will be supplied by the SEC.
   
4. Submit a list of all states or jurisdictions in which that voting machine has been approved for use. This list must report how long the machine has been used in the state; contain the name, address, and telephone number of that state or jurisdiction’s chief election official; and disclose any reports compiled by state or local government concerning the performance of the system.
 
5. Submit copies of all contracts and maintenance agreements used in connection with the sale of the voting system.
 
6. Conduct, under the supervision of the SEC and any county election commission, a field test of any new voting system. This test must be completed during a scheduled primary, general or special election and must be held in two or more precincts.
 
7. All source codes for the system must be placed in escrow by the manufacturer, at their expense, with the approved software ITA.
 
8. After a voting system is approved, any improvements or changes to the system must be submitted to the SEC for approval and re-examination if necessary. This requirement does not apply to the technical capability of a general purpose computer, reader, or printer.

 

 

  

II. Examination Guidelines
 

 

2.1 Application Procedures for Examination
 
A vendor seeking examination of a voting system for certification in South Carolina must complete an Application for Examination  (Appendix A)  and return it to the S.C. Election Commission with the following:
 
  1. A check in the amount of $1000.00 for a new voting system or a check in the amount of $500.00 for examination of an upgrade to any existing certified system. This examination fee is nonrefundable. The check should be made payable to: S.C. Election Commission.
 
  2. A list of all states or jurisdictions in which the voting system has been approved for use. This list must state how long the system has been used in the state; contain the name, address, and telephone number of that jurisdiction’s chief election official; and disclose any reports compiled by state or local government concerning the performance of the machine.
 
  3. A copy of the testing report or final summary from both Independent Testing Authorities (ITA) for software, hardware, and firmware.
 
  4. A copy of all contracts and maintenance agreements used in connection with the voting system.
 
  5. Training courses available and the costs associated with that training.
 
  6. System operator’s manual.
 
  7. All manuals associated with software and hardware use.
 
  8. Environmental requirements for storage, transportation, and operation, including temperature range, humidity range and electrical supply requirements.
 
  9. Brief overview description of the voting system and/or marketing brochures.
 
  10. List of files and file structure for use of voting system.
 
 
2.2 Time for Examination
 
Upon receipt of a completed application and documents requested in section 2.1, a representative from the S.C. Election Commission will notify the vendor of the earliest date when the requested examination for certification can begin. Examinations for certification will not be conducted 2 months prior to a statewide election and the period between the statewide primary and general or special election. Examinations for upgrades to a currently certified voting system will not be conducted during this period unless a county currently using the system requests the upgrade and provides justification for the exception to this procedure.

The vendor will be required to deliver the system to the S.C. Election Commission, provide a demonstration, and answer any questions. The system will then be retained by the SEC for a period of time to be determined based upon the type of system and level of testing required.

  
  
2.3 Location For Examination
 
Examination of the voting system will be conducted at the office of the S.C. Election Commission in Columbia, South Carolina unless otherwise agreed to by commission personnel and the vendor. The S.C. Election Commission reserves the right to receive consultation, as to testing and examination procedures, during the evaluation from outside agents.
 
 
2.4 Testing Configuration
 
The examination test is not intended to result in exhaustive tests of system hardware and software attributes; these are evaluated during qualification testing at the ITA. However, all system functions, which are essential to the conduct of an election, will be evaluated. This evaluation may be limited, for example, to the casting of a smaller number of ballots that would be required for assessment of numerical performance attributes.
   
The system shall be configured according to specifications outlined in section III State Level Testing Specifications and contain a ballot using specifications in sections 3.4 and 3.5 of this document.
 
 
2.5 System Components for Disabled Voters
 

If the system for which certification is sought will be marketed using features specifically designed for disabled voters, the system shall be delivered with all components and manuals associated with those features at the time of examination.
 
While South Carolina law does not require certain features on voting systems to accommodate disabled voters, if the voting system being tested has those capabilities they will be tested fully and documented in the final report.

 
 
2.6 Retention of Documentation and Materials
 
All documentation and materials, with the exception of the voting machines and related hardware, will be retained by the S.C. Election Commission as long as the system is marketed or used in the State of South Carolina. If a system fails examination or does not receive certification from the S.C. Election Commission, original documentation will be returned to the vendor. Any copies needed to correspond with original examination procedures, will be retained by the S.C. Election Commission.
 
 
2.7 Reports
 
Pre-election and post election reports must be printed using a typesize that is easily readable, preferably 10pt or higher, and contain the election date and title, precinct and grand totals for each race/candidate listed on the ballot.   See Appendix E - Sample Reports.

 

  

In the event that you have any questions,   please contact Donna Royson,  Director of Election Services - State Election Commission,  at  (803) 734-9060

   
 
Page last updated 08/20/2004