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Independent Testing Authority

CIBER Voting Machine Test Lab Failures is 'Old News' Known by Top Election Officials for Years PDF  | Print |  Email
Independent Testing Authority
By Michael Richardson   
February 01, 2007
'CIBER Has Absolutely No Idea What It's Talking About'
Testing Secrecy Has Allowed CIBER to Profit From Sloppy Work


CIBER, Inc., the nation’s largest so-called “independent test authority” (ITA) of electronic voting machines, is at the center of a growing scandal about lax testing of voting equipment. The recent release of a long-kept secret assessment of the company by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) detailing a shocking record of sloppy, incomplete or non-existent testing by CIBER led the test lab’s CEO, Mac Slingerlend, to call the report “old news” in an interview with the Rocky Mountain News.


While CIBER’s shortcomings may be “old news” to Slingerlend, unaware election officials around the nation are angered at not being informed by the EAC prior to the November 2006 elections when voting machine models “tested” by CIBER were used by 68.5% of the registered voters in the country.

Assessment of Labs Reveals Flawed Voting System Testing PDF  | Print |  Email
Independent Testing Authority
By John Washburn, VoteTrustUSA Voting Technology Task Force   
January 29, 2007

On Friday, January 26, 2007 the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released the Interim Accreditation Assessment report submitted to the EAC back in July of 2006. The report “Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Interim Accreditation Independent Test Authorities (ITA) Assessment Report CIBER & Wyle” is an assessment of an on-site review conducted July 17 to July 22, 2006. It is a damning indictment of the ITA team of the CIBER lab and the Wyle lab, which tested the voting equipment used by at least 70% of the voters in the November 7, 2006 election.

The failures documented in the report exceed the direst fears of those who had come to question the independence, authority and testing competence of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) ITA labs. The cadre of doubters came to include many computer security experts, election integrity activists, several state examiners and eventually candidates themselves. Doubt grew with each NASED qualified system which later proved to have significant defects. Doubts grew with revelations of significant defects in systems qualified through NASED ITA program. The defects and illegal system configurations had gone undiscovered by these labs through many rounds of “testing” and remained undiscovered the two labs over the course of years. 


The recurring question of the doubters has always been: “How could such a system pass the qualification testing?”

And make no mistake – this was not an idle question. The NASED/ITA qualification process using ITA labs was vital to the sales and acceptance of many voting systems in many states.  For years manufacturers of voting equipment, state election officials, and current EAC personnel have repeatedly stated the testing done by the ITA labs was thorough and rigorous and thus ensured strict conformance of the qualified systems to the tough standards documented in the 2002 Voting Systems Standards (2002 VSS). The testing and conformance to standards has often been the first line of defense against reports of security vulnerabilities in voting systems.


However, this assessment report released on January 26, 2007, makes clear that for systems tested by the CIBER/Wyle team these frequent statements were unjustified. And even with the publication of this assessment report, most of the details such as what was and was not tested in those systems, remain cloaked behind a veil of secrecy. After reading this assessment, one also has to wonder why Wyle was granted interim accreditation.

Voting Machine Test Lab Merger Despite EAC Ban on Ciber puts Wyle Lab Partnership in Question PDF  | Print |  Email
Independent Testing Authority
By Michael Richardson   
January 19, 2007
The efforts of the Election Assistance Commission to accredit test laboratories for the nation's electronic voting machines have left the country with only two labs, SysTest and Wyle, operating on interim approval; and one laboratory, Ciber, left unaccredited since the National Association of State Election Directors got out of the certification business last year.

Published reports indicate the Ciber lab was denied interim accreditation last summer for a history of inadequate quality assurance and inability to document that critical tests were performed. The EAC is saying little about the matter to the media and has now been requested by Senator Diane Feinstein to explain why Ciber was not accredited and why disclosure of that fact was kept from election officials around the nation.

EAC regulatory staff might just want to peek at Ciber's website (webpage archived here) where they will discover that the banned Ciber lab has merged its testing division with EAC approved Wyle lab. Ciber boasts, "The CIBER-Wyle team is your single source for independent voting machine testing."
A House of Voting Cards PDF  | Print |  Email
Independent Testing Authority
By Joseph Hall, Univeristy of California, Berkeley   
January 13, 2007

This article was posted at Not Quite a Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author. 


The New York Times revealed last week that one of the Independent Testing Laboratories (ITAs) that qualify voting systems for conformance to the federal voting systems standards, Ciber Laboratories, Inc., had been suspended from approving new machines. Apparently, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) suspended Ciber due to lax "quality-control procedures and [Ciber] could not document that it was conducting all the required tests." ("Citing Problems, U.S. Bars Lab From Testing Electronic Voting")


We'll have more to say in detail in the future about what this revelation means in terms of oversight of voting systems, and oversight of the EAC itself. However, a number of simple questions come to mind: Why was this development kept from the public? Why were machines that Ciber had erroneously approved allowed to be used without additional testing in last Fall's general elections? How many models of voting systems are we talking about here? How widely deployed are Ciber-tested voting systems in our elections environment?

Lou Dobbs: The Voting Machine Vendors Are the Clients of the Testing Labs PDF  | Print |  Email
Independent Testing Authority
By CNN Transcripts   
October 28, 2006

The following is a transcript of a segment that appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight Oct. 26, 2006.


LOU DOBBS: Turning now to our special series, "Democracy at Risk", it's a case of special interest over the national interest. The laboratories testing and certifying e-voting machines are paid, paid by the manufacturers of e-voting machines. It's an outrageous conflict of interest that is putting our democracy, tonight, at risk.

Kitty Pilgrim reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With only 12 days before the November election, the Election Assistance Commission was begging manufacturers and testers of electronic voting machines to reassure them the election would work.


TOM WILKEY, executive director, Election Assistance Commission, President and Company Manager, SysTest Labs: Is my vote going to count? Your comment, please?


FRANK PADILLA, Test Supervisor, Wyle Laboratories : Absolutely.


KEITH WILSON, Manager, Wyle Laboratories: If you go to the polls, yes.


IAN Piper, Diebold: 100 percent.


PILGRIM: But at this hearing in Washington, a clear demonstration of just how cozy manufacturers are with the labs who test their machines. Executives sat elbow to elbow on the same panel and testified together.

Electronic voting machines have proven reliability and security flaws. But the labs who test and certify those machines are actually hired and paid by the manufacturers themselves.

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