The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has established a program for accrediting laboratories that will test voting systems and components in accordance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. Laboratories wishing to be considered for accreditation in the first group must submit an application and pay required fees by Aug. 16, 2005. Evaluation of the first group of applicant laboratories will begin on or about Sept. 15.
The program is being established as part of NIST's National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) in coordination with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). NVLAP accredits public and private laboratories based on evaluation of their technical qualifications and competence to carry out specific calibrations or tests. The evaluation process will include interviews with key laboratory staff to determine if they are properly trained and technically competent; reviews of laboratory documentation; and demonstrations of tests to be conducted on voting systems and components.
NVLAP accreditation is a prerequisite for a laboratory to be considered by the EAC as a Voting System Test and Certification Authority (VSTCA). EAC-accredited laboratories will test and certify voting systems for conformance with voluntary voting system standards proposed by the EAC. The EAC will maintain a list of VSTCAs to help vendors and elections officials identify qualified resources.
NIST Handbook 150-22, NVLAP Voting System Testing, provides technical requirements and guidance for accrediting laboratories under this program. For a copy of the voting system testing handbook and an application, call (301) 975-4016, send an e-mail to nvlap [at] nist.gov, or write to Voting System Program Testing Manager, NIST/NVLAP, Stop 2140, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-2140. Established in 1976, NVLAP provides third-party accreditation to testing and calibration laboratories. Get more information on NVLAP.