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RFI - Election Assistance Commission Voting System Testing & Certification Program

Solicitation Number: 12RT0087
Agency: General Services Administration
Office: Federal Acquisition Service (FAS)
Location: Federal Acquisition Service, Region 8 (8Q)
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Sources Sought
Added: Apr 16, 2012 1:05 pm



This request for information (RFI) and sources sought is for planning and market research purposes only.  It is not a request for proposals and should not be construed as a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the government. The government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the government's use of that information.  Responses will be at no cost to the government.

52.215-3 -- Request for Information or Solicitation for Planning Purposes (Oct 1997)

(a) The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this solicitation or to otherwise pay for the information solicited except as an allowable cost under other contracts as provided in subsection 31.205-18, Bid and proposal costs, of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

(b) Although "proposal" and "offeror" are used in this Request for Information, your response will be treated as information only. It shall not be used as a proposal.

(c) This solicitation is issued for the purpose of: See paragraph 1.


•1.      SUMMARY


The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) is seeking information to assist with establishing the scope, time frame, cost range, and measurements to be used in a potential, initial review of the EAC's Voting System Testing and Certification Program.  The OIG is also attempting to identify qualified vendors who would be interested in conducting a review of this program.  See the background section for information on the Voting System Testing and Certification program.




The EAC was created in 2003 by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).  HAVA directed EAC to develop a new set of voting system guidelines or standards.  The EAC has developed the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) in response to that directive.  HAVA also charged the EAC as first Federal agency responsible for administering a testing and certification program to assess voting equipment.  The EAC's Voting System Testing and Certification Program followed a program run by a private consortium of election officials.  The National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) conducted that testing and certification program until approximately July 2006.  The EAC's program was adopted and implemented in January 2007.


The EAC's program has two essential parts:  a laboratory accreditation program and a testing and certification program. Through the laboratory accreditation program, the EAC with the help of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) accredits laboratories that are authorized to test voting systems under the EAC's voting system testing and certification program.  The accreditation review includes a technical review by NIST and a conflicts of interest review by the EAC.


The EAC's voting system testing and certification program includes multiple steps. Voting system manufacturers register with EAC.  Those manufacturers then enter into a third-party arrangement with one of EAC's accredited laboratories to conduct testing under the EAC's Voting System Testing and Certification Program.  Testing is conducted to determine conformance with one of two established sets of voting system standards:  2002 Voting System Standards or the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Standards.  The EAC reviews and approves test plans submitted by the accredited laboratory for each voting system tested.  The EAC also reviews test reports submitted by the laboratory prior to making a certification decision.  More detailed information about the EAC's Voting System Testing and Certification Program is available in the EAC's Voting System Testing and Certification Program Manual.


The EAC has certified some voting systems.  Information concerning the certification of these systems is available on EAC's website,  There are several other systems that are currently undergoing testing and certification review, but which have not received a certification decision.




The proposed review would be an initial examination of the EAC's Voting System Testing and Certification Program.  The goal of the review would be to assess the overall health of the program in terms of its establishment and implementation.  The OIG would ask the vendor to identify the program metrics that have been established by the EAC to collect data points relevant to making a conformance and certification decision.  The vendor would be asked to analyze those metrics to determine their sufficiency in terms of the EAC's ability to make a sound determination as to whether a voting system conforms to the applicable standards and should or should not be certified.  Further, the vendor would be asked to analyze the data collected by the EAC according to its established metrics along with the presence and quality of documentation for those data points.  Last, the vendor would be asked to assess whether the review of collected data by EAC through its testing and certification program supports the EAC's certification decisions (both final certification and interim decisions such as test plan approval). 


The proposed review would be conducted in accordance with the Quality Standards for Inspections as set forth by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).




The proposed review would be limited to the Voting System Testing and Certification Program and will not include a review of the Laboratory Accreditation Program.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has conducted an initial review of this program.  GAO issued a report concerning that program in September 2008.  The proposed review would also be limited to systems that have been certified or are currently undergoing certification testing and review under the EAC program.  This review would be limited to a review of the policies, procedures and practices in place at the EAC for testing and certifying voting systems as well as the documents used to support certification decisions.  Those documents would include but are not limited to test plans, test reports, correspondence, notices of clarification, interpretations, notes, and electronic mail that are in the possession of or used by the EAC, its technical reviewers or EAC's accredited laboratories that have performed or will perform tests on subject voting systems.


The proposed review would not involve retesting voting systems that have been processed through the EAC's Voting System Testing and Certification Program.  Vendors would not be asked to conduct field tests of voting equipment that has been issued EAC certification.  The review would not include assessments of the capabilities of specific voting systems.  Likewise, the vendor would not be asked to visit any of EAC's accredited testing laboratories.


The OIG has limited resources to assign to this task.  Thus, there will be a preference for cost-effective approaches.




In addition to seeking information on qualified, interested vendors, the OIG also seeks to obtain information regarding the following topics which may assist the OIG in further refining the scope, timeline, and cost of the proposed project.


•1)                  Is the scope of the proposed review feasible?

•2)                  What alterations to the scope should be considered?

•3)                  Should the OIG consider requiring this program to be reviewed for conformance with any published quality assurance or program planning standards?  If so, what standards?

•4)                  How long would the proposed review take?

•5)                  Identify what you believe are the critical steps to a successful review of this program.

•6)                  Provide an estimated price range for the proposed review.  If the estimated price to complete the proposed review is greater than $250,000 then please identify what elements of the review could be accomplished in a price range of $100,000 - $250,000.  

•7)                  If funds are limited:

                                                              i.      What is the most critical function that needs to be reviewed?

                                                            ii.      What would be estimated costs for that review?  

                                                          iii.      What are the critical steps for that review?

•8)                  Identify what skill sets you believe that a competent review team must possess and an estimated number of labor hours required for each skill set.

•9)                  Considering the type and scope of the proposed review, what milestones/accomplishments should the OIG consider for payment schedules and performance measurement?




The OIG is seeking to identify qualified vendors who are interested in competing should the OIG decide to move forward with the proposed project.  Vendors interested in participating in any future solicitation should provide responses to the following inquiries: 


•1)                  Entity name and address

•2)                  Designated entity contact and contact information, including telephone number and email address

•3)                  Examples of experience evaluating complex programs to determine the sufficiency of metrics, data collection, and documentation

•4)                  Identify specific qualifications, expertise and experience which would be required to assess the testing voting equipment

•5)                  Examples of evaluations of testing and certification programs conducted by the entity (any experience with evaluating state or local voting system testing and certification programs should be specially noted)

•6)                  Identify any team members that have expertise and experience with conducting inspections or evaluations pursuant to CIGIE's (previously PCIE and ECIE) Quality Standards for Inspections

•7)                  Identify if any conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest exist, including, but not limited to, prior work for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, prior work for a voting system manufacturer, prior work for one or more of EAC's accredited testing laboratories, or prior work for any chief state election officer or local election officials.

•8)                  Confirm whether the vendor could or could not assemble a team with members possessing an active national security clearance at a secret or top secret level.




Responses will be accepted until May 31st, 2012.  Responses should be submitted in electronic format via email to or


The collected information will be analyzed and may serve as the basis for a future solicitation for the proposed project.  The Government recognizes that proprietary data may be submitted as part of this effort.  If so, clearly mark such restricted or proprietary data. 

Responses should also provide:

•1.      Socio-economic status - to be used to determine set aside potential

•2.      If the Contractor possesses a GSA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Contract OR another type of contract for Governmentwide use please provide:

•a.     Pertinent contract information such as contract number.

•b.     For GSA FSS, the applicable Special Identification Numbers (SIN) on the GSA Schedule to conduct this work.

Denver Federal Center
Building 41, Room 145
Denver, Colorado 80225
United States

United States
Matthew E. Gomer,
Contract Specialist
Phone: 3032365014
Heidi Sawyer,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 303-236-5032
Fax: 303-236-6024