The Rhode Island Department of State has reached a settlement with voting machine vendor Election Systems and Software (ES&S) following programming errors that were discovered during the 2022 primary election.
As part of the settlement, ES&S will provide a credit of $47,644 for all project management services provided during the election. In addition, the company has agreed to post a public statement (included below) on its website outlining best practices for collaborative Logic & Accuracy testing.
After the discovery of the programming errors in August, the Rhode Island Department of State’s Elections Division worked with ES&S and the Rhode Island Board of Elections to develop new collaborative testing protocols to verify the accuracy of voting screens in both English and Spanish, as well as the accuracy of printed ballot cards.
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea stated, “We have held our vendor accountable for their mistake, and working together we have succeeded in making systemic improvements to pre-election testing across my office, the Board of Elections and ES&S.”
Full ES&S Statement:
Our commitment to you…
As the 2022 election year ends, ES&S reflects on ways in which we can continue to deliver on our mission of enhancing the election experience. This includes committing to the customers we support and the voters they serve to review our collective processes, best practices and operating procedures and look for ways we can improve the security and integrity of the democratic process.
One way we do this is to seek feedback from our customers and our own in-the-field resources after a major election. Recently we received valuable feedback regarding how pre-election day tests are performed by our customers across the nation.
Pre-election testing includes logic and accuracy (L&A) testing. It’s the process by which the machines and ballots are publicly tested by jurisdictions before Election Day to confirm that the ballot content is accurate and those ballots will tabulate a voter’s selections correctly. L&A testing increases confidence in elections.
ES&S wants to reiterate its recommendation for best practices which are contained on our online customer portal. “L&A testing starts with proofing all of your ballot styles, both paper and touch screen, for accuracy in layout and contests.” This will ensure that all touch screens match exactly paper ballots, in every language used for voting.
Furthermore, we have also expressed: “To test your tabulation equipment, use a test deck of ballots and or ExpressVote vote summary cards containing votes for each candidate and questions in all contests, and where the expected results are known.” This means that on touch screens, testing should include votes for all candidates and questions in all races. As we have said: “You can create your own test deck independently by manually filling out ballots for all ballot styles in sufficient quantity to vote all candidates/questions in all contests.”
While each jurisdiction has its own set of procedures, rules and statutes that govern L&A testing, ES&S is willing and able to provide best-practice guidance, technical and testing support and phone support via our Help Desk.
As part of our ongoing pledge to excellence in elections, ES&S is committed to assisting our customers to ensure that the vital process of L&A testing is thorough and consistently applied for each and every election. We do this through associate education and customer user group instructional sessions. Additionally, ES&S provides consultation around L&A procedures, as well as other pre-election testing and provides feedback on whether L&A processes are comprehensive enough to ensure the integrity of the ballot.