NIST to Certify Voting Machine Security, Standards

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2006-10-26 Print this article Print

The EAC and NIST are working together to create the standards against which voting products are judged.

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the little-known agency that controls how national elections are held in the United States, is enlisting the help of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in making sure electronic voting machines meet federal standards.

According to EAC Voting Systems Certification Director Brian Hancock, all voting machines to be used in federal elections must meet certification requirements for the specific election in which they're being used.

For this reason, the EAC requires vendors of electronic voting machines to show that they meet the required standards by having their products tested by private labs, and having the results verified by NIST.

The EAC and NIST are working together to create the standards against which voting products are judged.

"NIST will address security and wireless access," Hancock noted. He said that focus will be in addition to the standards already in place on usability, performance, accessibility, etc.

Hancock said that manufacturers of machines that don't meet federal standards could have what he called the "ultimate sanction" placed against them.

"This includes decertification," he said. If a manufacturer or its machines have been decertified, they cannot be used in elections in the United States, he added.

The EAC is requiring that electronic voting machines be certified for security, so that tampering, vote rigging or other types of election tampering cannot take place.

However, he noted that attacks on the voting process haven't surfaced.

"There has never been an attempt to hack into a voting machine on Election Day," Hancock said.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: NIST to Certify Voting Machine Security, Standards.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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