The Texas Election Code requires all voting systems to be approved by the Secretary of State before they may be used in any election. The voting system vendor must submit an application to certify new voting systems and to certify modified voting systems.
The Secretary of State requires new systems and modifications to previously-certified systems be qualified by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), with 2002 Voting System Standards/guidelines (VSSG) or newer, prior to being submitted for examination.
Prior to submitting their application, the vendor should complete the Notice of Intent to Seek Certification. The purpose of this form is to secure one of the available dates for testing of the system. If a vendor would like to apply for certification after the deadline for submitting the Notice, they may still do so, but they should first contact the Secretary of State to determine what testing dates are still available.
The vendor applying for certification must complete and deliver application forms (Form 100, Form 101, and if applicable, Form 100 Schedule A), user operating and maintenance manuals, training material, final report(s) from an independent testing laboratory accredited by the EAC, a change log detailing changes from any previously-certified system or component, and application fee(s), to the Secretary of State no later than 45 days prior to examination.
The certification fee for a new election management system, tabulation device, electronic ballot marker, and other complex component(s) of a system is $3,000. The certification fee for a modification of a voting system shall be determined by the Secretary of State according to the complexity of the modification. This fee is used to administer the certification process and compensate the independent examiners for their time and expertise.
After all the above-listed materials have been received by this office, a time will be set to physically examine the voting system(s). Examiners will receive a packet of the submitted material, for their review, in advance of the physical examination. Examinations of voting systems will take place at the Office of the Secretary of State in Austin, Texas, unless extenuating circumstances provide otherwise.
The Secretary of State’s Office will supply sample ballot templates to the applicant after their application packet has been received. The applicant shall furnish a sufficient number of sample ballots, designed from the templates provided by the Secretary of State, at least two weeks prior to the examination. The sample ballots will allow examiners to test the accuracy of the voting system(s).
During the exam process, the applicant must demonstrate an installation of the software/firmware by using the Secretary of State’s copy of the software/firmware received from the independent testing laboratory. The applicant must demonstrate their system and explain how it meets all the requirements set forth in Form 101. The applicant must be prepared to answer technical, procedural, and security questions from the examiners. If a central count or central accumulator system is being examined, it must be demonstrated that it has the ability to produce and print a real time continuous audit log.
Each examiner will submit a written report to the Secretary of State stating his findings for each voting system no later than 30 days after examination. The examiner reports will be posted to the Secretary of State web site and a public hearing will be held to receive public comments regarding the approval or disapproval of the system examined.The Secretary of State will review the examiner reports and information received at the public hearing, prior to making the decision to approve or disapprove the voting system(s).
Please submit all relevant materials to:
Christina Worrell Adkins
P.O. Box 12060
Austin, Texas 78711-2060