Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson
Thomas Wilkey, Executive Director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), seems to bear more direct responsibility for the growing voting machine test lab scandal than any other person. Let's connect a few dots and sift through a bit of murky alphabet soup.
For nearly a decade, Wilkey has overseen the testing process of electronic voting machines, keeping recently revealed problems with the so-called “Independent Testing Authorities” (ITA) a secret from public and elections officials alike. Wilkey also tried to prevent federal oversight of the testing process during the development of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and worked to keep the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) out of his hidden world.
The EAC inherited the responsibility of qualifying voting machine test laboratories from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), where Wilkey strategically positioned himself to control the test laboratories. When HAVA eventually assumed responsibility for the test laboratories from NASED and handed it to the EAC, Wilkey worked behind the scenes to try to keep control over the labs for himself.
Wilkey, formerly the director of the New York State Board of Elections, was appointed to his present position at the helm of the EAC on June 20, 2005. At the time of his appointment, Wilkey chaired the NASED Voting Standards Board, which oversaw the testing labs for voting machine qualification. Wilkey, a founder and past-president of NASED, also chaired the organization’s ITA Committee from 1998 until his departure to the EAC.
As well, Wilkey also served several tours of duty on the board of directors of The Election Center, a non-profit group of dubious (or at least mysterious) background headed by R. Doug Lewis, who is also one of the founders of NASED. The Election Center acted as technical consultants to NASED on voting machine testing. From 1998 until his move to the EAC then, Wilkey was in charge of every aspect of control, selection, and oversight of the voting machine test labs.
His involvement, therefore, in the entire process and the recently revealed failed accreditation of one of the previously-approved labs, CIBER, Inc., deserves close scrutiny --- particularly as one reads Wilkey's bio [PDF] as posted over at the EAC website which describes him as...