Another Voting Machine Company, Advanced Voting Solutions, Also Caught In A Deception
ALSO - BONUS VIDEO: Dan Rather on CNN's Situation Room Tonight, Discussing His Report...
By John Gideon on 8/14/2007, 1:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

As we reported on Sunday, Dan Rather's investigation of the voting machine industry is causing a stir. Apparently the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) decided that something in the Rather report did not match up with what ES&S had reported to them.

The voting machine company failed to disclose that their equipment was being made in a sweatshop in the Philippines even though they are supposed to reveal all such information to the federal EAC. In a strange fit of responsible behavior, the EAC has sent them a letter of reprimand (letter is posted in full below). Though the notice amounts to little more than a friendly slap on the wrist.

Similarly, the EAC has sent a letter to voting machine company Advanced Voting Systems (AVS), for secretly replacing mother boards in their systems without certification or approval. That letter is also posted at the end of this article.

An interview with Rather, earlier this afternoon on CNN's Situation Room, is now posted at right. Rather's startling report will be airing beginning this evening at 8PM EDT and will air on HD Net over the next few days. It will also be on-line for those who cannot get HD Net. We'll try to provide links as soon as one becomes available. Our report from Sunday included a disturbing 12 minute preview version.

UPDATE FROM BRAD : Kim Zetter at WIRED adds a few details to this issue moments ago, including this interesting revelation of some ES&S sleight-of-hand to hide their Filipino sweatshop...

ES&S did not respond to a call for comment. So I asked the EAC for the list that ES&S submitted regarding its manufacturing facilities. Here it is:

FutureLogic; Phoenix, AZPivot International; Lenexa, KS Ricoh Electronics; Tustin, CA Technical Support , Inc; Omaha, NE Xten Industries; Kenosha, WI

Notice that ES&S's list does include Pivot International, based in Kansas, but it does not mention that Pivot actually has the machines assembled at the Teletech factory in Manila.

The full letters from the EAC can be found here [PDF]. A text version of both are found below...


1225 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC. 20005
August 14, 2007
Election Systems & Software, Inc
11208 John Galt Blvd
Omaha, NE 68137
Attn: Steven M. Pearson, Vice President of Certification

RE: Notice of Non-compliance

Dear Mr. Steven M. Pearson

It has come to our attention that Election Systems & Software, Inc (ES&S) may be using a facility in Manila, Philippines to assemble some of its voting systems. As you know, it is a requirement for participants in the Election Assistance Commission’s Voting System Testing and Certification Program to disclose the locations of all manufacturing and assembly facilities. Information about the Manila facility was not included in the list of facilities ES&S provided to EAC.

Even though EAC has not issued any voting system certifications to ES&S voting systems, it is imperative that the company follow all of EAC’s reporting requirements to continue participating in our certification program. These reporting requirements are the cornerstone of EAC’s certification program, and we request that you immediately address this issue and provide EAC with a complete list of all facilities if the previously submitted information is incomplete. For more information about the reporting requirements, I refer you to Section 2 of EAC’s Testing and Certification Manual.

Consistent with Section of EAC’s Testing and Certification Program Manual, please provide the EAC with a complete list of all ES&S manufacturing and assembly facilities within 30 days. Failure to timely comply with this notice by either providing the information requested or otherwise demonstrating compliance with our program will result in the suspension of your organization’s registration as a voting system manufacturer pursuant to Section 2.6 of EAC Testing and Certification Manual.

In the interest of successfully complying with the requirements of EAC’s program, I am confident you will immediately take the appropriate steps regarding our request for more information. Please contact me if you have questions.

Brian Hancock
Director of Voting Systems Certification

Also to hear from the EAC recently was Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS). It seems that AVS had certified that they had made no hardware changes to their voting machines since some testing had been done in 2006. According to the Voting System Test Lab, iBeta, AVS had made a major change to their hardware, they changed the motherboard. AVS has two weeks to explain what happened or be suspended from participation.


1225 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC. 20005
August 14, 2007
Mr. Howard Van Pelt
Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS)
1600 Redbud Blvd., #301
McKinney, TX 75069

Dear Mr. van Pelt:

iBeta Quality Assurance has recently informed the EAC that they have halted testing on AVS WINware 2.0.4 due to a breach of contract by AVS. These issues are outlined in the attached correspondence from iBeta.

Separate from the issues that have currently suspended testing, the correspondence from iBeta also noted that initial testing of your product found a hardware discrepancy to your voting system. While AVS claimed that the hardware was unchanged since environmental testing done in 2006, Wyle Labs, as a subcontractor for iBeta, determined via drawings submitted by AVS that a major hardware component (the motherboard) had been changed. Additional research by iBeta could not find any evidence to contradict the initial assessment of this anomaly.

To address this situation, please provide the EAC with a written clarification no later than August 21, 2007. Whether intentional or unintentional, the EAC considers discrepancies between a product submitted for certification and its documentation to be a serious matter which may subject AVS to the provisions of Section 2.6 of the EAC Testing and Certification Program Manual. Failure to respond to this request in a timely matter may initiate suspension procedures outlined in the above noted Section of the Manual.

Brian Hancock
Director, Testing and Certification
Cc: Carolyn Coggins, iBeta