What does SysTest Labs have to do with you and why does it matter? If you vote, SysTest Labs may be at least partially responsible for ensuring your vote counts … or not.
Consider SysTest Labs as the judge who in effect “blesses” your voting systems as pure from bugs and other nasty defects. They’re hired to serve as independent, impartial quality test experts in an effort to protect you from shoddy manufacturers and slapdash elections. In a sense they serve as a protective buffer between a voting machine manufacturer and your state’s certification of quality voting machines that count your vote every time.
But that didn’t happen and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission notified SysTest Labs that its accreditation for testing voting systems will be suspended. SysTest Labs accreditation from the National Institute of Standards and Technology has already been suspended.
If your voting system is one of these, SysTest Labs may have tested your system using the same undocumented test methods and unqualified/untrained testers that led to its suspension by the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Diebold Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems, Barden Technologies, Danaher Controls, Dominion Voting Systems, Hart InterCivic, Inspire Voting Systems, MicroVote, NEDAP, Populex Corporation, SmartMatic, Unisyn, Vote Here, Wintergreen Research. In other words, your voting machines may be certified and operating under a false sense of security.
Considering the multiple tiers of professional evaluations and testing of our voting machines, from the vendor’s own quality assurance processes to the independent testing authorities, the Secretary of State certification process, the County Election Supervisor and then to the final preparation for each election, it is difficult to fathom that so many of the same computer failures rear up election after election.
Will your vote count? As the optical ballot scanner sucking in my ballot groaned and chattered this year, I wondered if my vote will count this election. Clearly as shown in ES&S iVotronic Error Highlights at the end of this report, in the states and elections documented votes were not counted.
However, there’s another aspect to the SysTest Labs’ revelation, in that it adds one more company and another politician to the growing list of hands-on players named in Conspiracy, coincidence, or skullduggery.
SysTest Labs is the independent testing authority that led to the 2002 ES&S iVotronics touch-screen certification in Florida and other states. However, the iVotronics failed in several states and in several elections, including Florida’s 2006 election. At least 89K votes were lost statewide and 18K votes were lost in Sarasota’s contested Congressional District 13 race. GAO Sarasota D-13: Blood on the floor, bullet in the head, where did that smoking gun go?
Vern Buchanan “won” 2006’s District 13 race by 369 votes against Christine Jennings. When the race was contested, Buchanan hired SysTest Labs during the post-election testing in which the iVotronics were given a “clean bill of health,” adding “credence” to Buchanan’s win. (1)
But the iVotronics weren’t clean and they weren’t given a clean bill of health. After citing several bad practice faults against Florida’s Secretary of State, Sarasota’s Election Supervisor, and ES&S, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation concluded with an inconclusive verdict of insufficient evidence following a final touch-screen hardware test of two working machines. While the GAO reports make no reference to SysTest Labs directly, an “independent testing authority” is references several times. (2)