A major component of election fraud conspiracy theories is that the voting machines were not certified and were not authorized for use. One aspect of this was that the accreditation for one of the major testing laboratories, Pro V&V, was expired and Pro V&V was no longer authorized to test voting machines to Election Assistance Commission (EAC) standards. Therefore, any machines certified after Pro V&V’s certificate expired in 2017 were invalid certifications and therefore invalid for use in an election. Ultimately, the theory concludes that the 2020 election, or any election after 2017 using those Pro V&V certified machines, was invalid.
The only problem with this spectacular theory is that it is completely untrue. Let’s kick this pig.
The theory is based on the 2015 accreditation certificate for Pro V&V. That certificate says it expires on February 24, 2017. Here is the certificate in question.
Superficially, the theory appears to have some credibility. The lab has to be certified in order to test voting machines so, if the lab’s accreditation is invalid, it only makes sense that any machines tested by the lab after the accreditation has expired would be invalid. Again, sounds good, in theory. It just isn’t true. At all.
15 CFR § 285.10 lays out the procedures with which labs must comply in order to maintain accreditation under the NVLAP program. 15 CFR § 285.7 explains how assessments are conducted in order to monitor compliance. Certificates of accreditation are supposed to be issued every two years, with assessments and audits taking place in between to ensure continued compliance.
An accredited lab can voluntarily surrender its accreditation from the NVLAP, have that certificate suspended due to some failure identified during assessments, or have their accreditation revoked by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). This isn’t what happened to Pro V&V.
A new accreditation certificate was given to Pro V&V in February of 2021. That certificate is below. Note the verbiage on the certificate where an expiration date used to appear.
52 USC § 20971 was enacted on October 29, 2002, thirteen years before Pro V&V was issued the accreditation certificate at the center of this conspiracy theory. The code explains that in order for a lab to no longer be accredited, its accreditation must be revoked by a vote of the commission. In a nutshell, the only organization that can declare that a laboratory no longer meets standards and is no longer accredited to test voting equipment is the Election Assistance Commission itself. Not a politician, not a candidate, not a conspiracy theorist, and not a certificate – regardless of the presence of a date on said certificate. In other words, Pro V&V is an accredited laboratory until such time as Pro V&V surrenders its accreditation or it is revoked by the EAC.
That doesn’t mean the certificate conspiracy wasn’t noticed by the powers that be. In February 2021, the EAC issued a memo to explain the certificate renewal issue on Pro V&V’s behalf. The memo explains that the absence of a certificate renewal was simply an administrative error and at no time was Pro V&V out of compliance with accreditation standards.
By the way, the major punishment for having your accreditation revoked by the commission? You can’t use their fancy logo on your work. That’s it. And if your accreditation is suspended or revoked, all you have to do is demonstrate that you are now in compliance and your accreditation will be restored. You can now continue to copy and paste the NVLAP logo on your website. Congratulations.
Regardless, Pro V&V, according to the NVLAP and the EAC, was never out of compliance with standards and the lab’s accreditation was never in jeopardy. Clerical errors mixed with staffing cuts during a pandemic are all that are to blame for the certificate debacle. Elections were not affected and democracy was not threatened by this situation.
Did the Pro V&V accreditation certificate expire? Yes. Does that mean Pro V&V was no longer authorized or accredited to test voting equipment? No, absolutely not. Both the EAC and VSLAP, the two organizations responsible for making that determination have stated such.
Each state certifies its own voting systems. Typically, you can find your state’s specific standards and certifications on the state’s secretary of state website. Bear in mind, the NVLAP accreditation system and participation in EAC certification processes is VOLUNTARY. Each state makes its own decision on how to certify and use systems. Here is a handy link to determine if your state follows EAC and NVLAP certifications.
Ohio, for instance, follows all of the federally recommended standards. Therefore, voting machines in Ohio must be certified by an accredited VSTL (Voting System Testing Laboratory) accredited by NVLAP (National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program) and then, additionally, the state’s Board of Voting Machine Examiners must approve the system for use in the state. The Ohio Secretary of State website maintains a list of State approved and certified systems with links to test results and certificates.
You can view Ohio’s SOS voting page HERE. It allows for easy access to all relevant documentation a concerned voter would need, including copies of the certificates of conformance for each system showing it meets EAC standards.
I randomly selected Nevada as another example. Although not as complete as Ohio’s website, Nevada provides you with the information available for State certification as well as links to the relevant documents. You can view Nevada’s website HERE.
Florida, on the other hand, doesn’t follow the Federal standards set forth by HAVA or regulations by EAC and NVLAP. Florida has their own State system of certification. Information on Florida’s standards and which machines the state has certified for use can be viewed HERE.
I would encourage you to look up the requirements in your own state and familiarize yourself with your state’s standards and procedures. In this modern age, being an informed voter has to include understanding the voting process and laws or regulations that govern your vote. This is a case of “do your own research.”
Get to know your state. You may find that HAVA, NVLAP, NIST certs and all the rest you’ve read about in conspiracy theories don’t even pertain to you and your state. The best way to fight disinformation regarding your voting rights is to be better educated on the subject than the conspiracy theorist on the other side of the country who is telling you your vote didn’t matter or was stolen.