According to its website, the Election Center is "a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, preserving, and improving democracy. Its members are government employees whose profession is to serve in voter registration and elections administration." It is also knows as the National Association of Election Officials and is affiliated with the National Association State Election Directors.
In October 2003, Jim Hightower  the Election Center as a "private firm that also doubles as the quasi-regulator of the industry, supposedly overseeing the integrity of the machines, while also coordinating affairs between the vendors and state election officials" and Center executive director R. Doug Lewis as "the perfect embodiment of George W.’s philosophy of 'voluntary regulation.'"
- 1 History
- 2 Funding of the Election Center by e-voting machine manufacturers
- 3 Sponsorship of events at the Election Center's annual conference
- 4 Public relations companies known to have worked for the Election Center
- 5 EC's role accrediting testers of donors machines
- 6 Officers and directors of the Election Center
- 7 Election Center Committees and Task Forces
- 8 Contact details
- 9 Articles and resources
According to the website of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the "Election Center Inc." was incorporated on January 18, 1980. There is no information on file regarding the officers and directors of the Center, except that Beverley Walker was the registered agent.
The Election Center was reincorporated in the state of Virginia on October 23, 1990, according to the Virginia State Corporation Commission.. A subsequent filing in Virginia gives Beverley Walker as treasurer, strongly suggesting that this is the same corporate entity as the one registered in Texas in 1980.
The registered agent cited on the Virginia filing is Beverley L. Crump, an attorney from Richmond, VA, effective from February 7, 1997. The previous agent, according to the VA filing, was Carol D. Garner.  Carol Garner is mentioned in an early reference to the Center in the Usenet archive. According to a posting from September 1988, a panel discussion on "Accuracy in Computer-Tabulated Elections" took place at George Washington University on 4th October 1988. One of the participants is described as "Carol Garner, Director of the Election Center (a nonprofit organization for election officials; the closest thing they have to the ACM, and moving slowly in that direction)." 
A 1988 publication by the National Bureau of Standards (now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce) gave this account of the Center's formation:
- The Election Center, affiliated with the Academy for State and Local Government, was established in 1984. The Center is an independent non-profit resource center serving registration and election officials. National and regional election conferences sponsored by the Center, as well as reports and other data distributed to officials, provide training and information in some thirty-five areas of election administration. The Center has recently distributed the report of a workshop held on Captiva Island, Florida, in February, 1987. The workshop concerned computerized vote-tallying and included, as participants, election officials, vendors, computer scientists, and others interested in the election process. The workshop was funded by grants to the George Washington University by the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation. The Election Center had no part in the workshop but, because of its clientele, served as a convenient avenue of distribution for the report.
Funding of the Election Center by e-voting machine manufacturers
Critics of the organization contend that it acts as a front group for e-voting machine vendors. In March 2004, a mistake by the IRS inadvertently revealed that e-voting machine vendor Sequoia had donated $10,000 per year to the Center from 1997 through 2000. The story was broken by the Philadelphia Inquirer .
When challenged by the Inquirer, the Center's executive director R. Doug Lewis confirmed that the center had taken donations from the following makers of electronic voting machines :
- Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. of Oakland, CA
- Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) of Omaha, Neb.
- 'probably' (in Lewis's words) Diebold Election Systems
Sponsorship of events at the Election Center's annual conference
In August 2004, the Election Center held its annual conference for election officials in Washington, DC. A number of events were sponsored by e-voting machine manufacturers :
- Wed Aug 25, 2004: Welcome Reception. Sponsored by Diebold Election Systems.
- Thurs Aug 26, 2004: A Dinner Cruise on the Potomac and Monuments by Night Tour. Co-sponsored by Sequoia Voting Systems.
- Fri Aug 27, 2004: Graduation Luncheon and Awards Ceremony. Sponsored by Electronic Systems & Software Inc.
Public relations companies known to have worked for the Election Center
EC's role accrediting testers of donors machines
Electronic voting machines, in the United States, are tested by independent testing authorities. The companies permitted to act as ITAs are designated by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED). The Election Center acts as secretariat for NASED. 
"General Overview for Getting a Voting System Qualified", a document available on the Election Center's website, gives further information about the relationship between the Center, NASED, and the ITAs: "The Center serves as NASED's day-to-day management company for working with the ITAs, with the FEC and with the states. The Center has no authority to pass or fail any system, but works with the local jurisdictions in answering questions concerning the manufacturer's products (at least those qualified or not qualified under the FVSS). The Center serves as the focal point for coordination among the FEC, NASED and state and local jurisdictions and the ITAs. The ITAs DO NOT and WILL NOT respond to outside inquiries about the testing process for voting systems, nor will they answer questions related to a specific manufacturer or a specific voting system. They have neither the staff nor the time to explain the process to the public, the news media or jurisdictions. All such inquiries are to be directed to The Election Center on behalf of NASED."  
In a 2003 telephone interview with e-voting activist Bev Harris, the Center's director R. Doug Lewis agreed with a more straightforward statement of the Election Center's role in the selection of ITAs. Harris recounts the following exchange:
- Harris: "Mr Lewis, I understand that your organization is the one that, basically, certifies the certifiers of the voting machines, is that correct?"
- Lewis: "Yes."
Harris notes that this is not strictly true, and wonders whether "perhaps he misunderstood my question".
"More than a decade ago, the Federal Election Commission authorized the National Association of State Election Directors to choose the independent testers," the Associated Press's Bill Poovey, et al.,  August 23, 2004. The Association website then said that "testing outfits" CIBER and Wyle Laboratories in Huntsville and SysTest Labs in Denver "have neither the staff nor the time to explain the process to the public, the news media or jurisdictions" and "directs inquiries [to] a Houston-based nonprofit organization, the Election Center, that assists election officials. The center's executive director, Doug Lewis, did not return telephone messages seeking comment," the AP reporters wrote. "The election directors' voting systems board chairman, former New York State elections director Thomas Wilkey, said the testers' secrecy stems from the FEC's refusal to take the lead in choosing them and the government's unwillingness to pay for it."
Officers and directors of the Election Center
The job titles given below are those from the source documents, which is why they are not always consistent for a given individual. This is not a full list - it merely indicates what is currently known about the Election Center's history.
|Date(s)||Officers and directors||Source|
|January 18, 1980||
||Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts|
||Congressional House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service report|
||Committee on House Administration: Subcommittee on Elections report|
|October 23, 1990||Virginia State Corporation Commission|
|January 14, 1992||
||Virginia State Corporation Commission|
||Virginia State Corporation Commission|
|July 19, 1995||Virginia State Corporation Commission|
|September 13, 2004||Virginia State Corporation Commission :|
|September 21, 2005||
||Virginia State Corporation Commission|
Election Center Committees and Task Forces
The following information is from pages archived from the Election Center's website.
Election Center National Task Force on Voting Accessibility
- Sarah Ball
- Gary Bartlett, Executive Secretary-Director
- Michael Beaty, National Coalition for Students with Disabilities
- Judi Beaudreau
- Linda Beazley, Director/State Elections Division
- Lucinda (Cindy) Burnette, Director of Elections
- David Capozzi, The Access Board
- Ann Cone, Director of Elections
- Bob Cooper
- Alan (Al) Davidson, Clerk
- Mary Alice Downs, Registrar
- Sara Harris, Manager of Election Operations
- R. Nellie Bogue-Hibbert, Clerk
- Carolyn Jackson, Administrator of Elections
- Robert Jamieson
- Rena M. Johnson, Director of Elections
- Ginny Kingsley, Elections Manager
- Dana LaTour, Elections Administrative Officer
- Therese LePore, Supervisor of Elections
- R. Doug Lewis, Exec. Director
- Lorraine Marchi, National Assoc. Visually Handicapped
- Conny McCormack, Registrar Recorder/Co. Clerk
- Ann McGeehan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
- Betsy Milner, Elections Deputy
- Lee Page, Associate Advocacy Director
- Lee Persley, Attorney/Disabilities Rights Center
- Glenn Phelps, Assistant Secretary For Policy
- Mark Richert, American Foundation for the Blind
- Larry Robinson, Granite State Independent Living
- Howard Scholl, Deputy Administrative Director
- Yvonne Smith, Assistant to the Executive Director
- Clyde Terry, Developmental Disabilities Council
- Scott Tighe
- Tom Wilkey,'s rep
- Ron Wilson
- Michelle Wyatt, Voter Reg. Director
A contact address from 1989, which may be of use to those researching the organization, is: P.O. Box 6690, McClean, VA 22160.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Bev Harris
- Diebold Election Systems
- Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S)
- E-voting PR
- ITAA eVoting Industry Coalition DRAFT Plan
- Kim Zetter
- National Association of State Election Directors (NASED)
- R. Doug Lewis
- http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/810 described
- http://www.calvoter.org/news/blog/2004_08_01_blogarchive.html#109330273246746673 reported
- ^ Corporate documents for the Election Center from the Virginia Secretary of State's office, retrieved by blackboxvoting.org, September 30, 2005. Background discussion here.
- ^ Listing for Election Center Inc. with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
- "Tentative schedule of events" for the Election Center's 2004 conference in Washington, DC (word document).
- ^ Election Center National Task Force on Voting Accessibility, list of members, Election Center website February 2002-March 2005. Via archive.org.
Articles & Commentary
- ^ Roy G. Saltman, "Accuracy, integrity, and security in computerized vote-tallying" (NBS Special Publication 500-158), Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology, National Bureau of Standards, August 1988.
- "DECISION 2000 / AMERICA WAITS; A Place in Politics for Salesmen and Wares; Getting folks to buy the products is a business, after all, and these vendors ply their trade in the halls of government. Relationships can lead to trouble," Los Angeles Times (N.C. Coalition for Verified Voting), December 11, 2000.
- Elise Ackerman, "Lax controls over e-voting testing labs. Election Officials Rely on Private Firms," Mercury News (WheresThePaper.org), May 30, 2004: "In 2002, the Houston-based Election Center operated on a $462,000 budget. Executive Director Doug Lewis said Election Center's budget comes mostly from membership dues and training fees. ... But he acknowledges accepting up to $10,000 a year in donations from voting-equipment manufacturers like Sequoia Voting Systems and Election Systems & Software. ... Lewis defended the donations. 'I don't have a problem with it because neither the Election Center or NASED ever had the right to approve or disapprove a voting system,' he said. ... Though the Election Center couldn't force manufacturers to send their equipment to testing labs, many states require the labs' approval before the machines can be used in an election. Today, only a handful of states conduct their own examination of a voting system's hardware and software. ... Despite its central role in guaranteeing the integrity of elections, the private testing system of independent labs is only loosely monitored. Neither the National Association of State Election Directors nor the Election Center has the resources to conduct follow-up inspection visits after a lab is accredited, Lewis said. The election directors' association also does not review contracts between the testers and manufacturers."
- Bev Harris, "The Election Center and R. Doug Lewis", Scoop.co.nz, August 11, 2003.
- Jim Hightower, Who's Counting Our Vote? Bushite corporate bosses," Hightower Lowdown, October 2003; also posted by VoteAmericaVote.com.
- Linda K. Harris, "Group that called electronic vote secure got makers' aid", Philadelphia Inquirer, March 25, 2004.
- Bill Poovey, "Secretive testing firms certify nation's vote count machines", Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle, August 22, 2004.
- ^ Eric Weiner, "'Butterfly Ballot' Architect Voted Out of Office", National Public Radio, September 29, 2004.
- Frequently Asked Questions About Voting System Standards, Federal Election Commission, May 18, 2001. Discusses relationship between the Election Center, NASED, and the ITAs. Apparently still current as of October 2004.
- "E-voting: Can we count on it?", SiliconValley.com, October 11, 2004. Roundtable discussion featuring Kim Zetter.
- General Overview for Getting a Voting System Qualified (MS Word document), National Association of State Election Directors via the Election Center's website. (HTML version). Undated, accessed October 25, 2004.
- Michael Keefer, "Evidence of Fraud in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election: An Expanded Reading List (Version 3)", December 2, 2004.
- ^ Committee on Post Office and Civil Service: Subcommittee on Postal Operations and Services, "Legislation to Facilitate Exercising the Right to Vote" (hearings), 1985, pages 11 and 13.
- ^ Committee on House Administration: Subcommittee on Elections, "Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act" (hearings), 1988, pages 39 and 61.
- ^ Committee on House Administration: Subcommittee on Elections, "Registration: Hearings Held Before the Subcommittee on Elections", 1989, page 292.
- Bev Harris and David Allen, "Black Box Voting - Ballot-tampering in the 21st Century, chapter 6", Talion Publishing, 2004, ISBN 192946245X. Contains an account of a telephone conversation between Harris and Lewis in which the relationship between the Election Center and the ITAs is briefly discussed.