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What Is L&A Testing And Why It Should Matter To You

Dominion Voting Systems ICP machine

In this day of people questioning their validity and results, there is nothing more important to the integrity of elections than L&A testing.

Uh, L&A testing?

Logic and Accuracy. Essentially, tests done on each and every voting machine to verify the computer logic.

“Logic and accuracy testing is a really important part of our preparation process for each election,” said Stephanie Weaver, the Berks County elections assistant director told the Reading Eagle. “Having representatives from the parties here helps allow people to see and understand the process. They are able to see how robust and meticulous each step is so that they can help us get that information out to the public.”

Election officials have been testing voting machines since the late 19th century when lever machines were first introduced. Those tests were purely mechanical, testing the accuracy of the equipment.

With the advent of computer-based voting systems in the 1960s, tests were added to verify the computer logic, creating what is now known as Logic and Accuracy (L&A) testing.

L&A testing, typically done in the month preceding an election, is a series of pre-election steps intended to ensure that ballots, scanners, ballot marking devices, and any component of a county’s certified voting system are properly configured and in good working order prior to being used in an election. These steps must include every protocol that counties will use in the actual election.

In some counties, the testing process is a public one, while other counties invite party representatives to be present to ensure transparency.

L & A testing promotes election integrity by:

  • Providing election officials an opportunity to identify errors in election definition and ballot format and layout, including appropriate locations for folds on absentee/mail-in ballots, missing races, missing party identification, misspellings of candidate names, incorrectly worded ballot questions, and incorrect tabulation.
  • Exposing inadequate or faulty election supplies, such as incorrect paper stock and memory cards that haven’t been properly wiped of data and reformatted.
  • Demonstrating to political parties, candidates, the media, and voters that they should feel confident in the integrity of Pennsylvania elections.


The goals for any L&A test are:

  • Verify that all ballots are accurately defined, including:
    • All necessary contests (races) are properly programmed, including special elections, retention elections, and ballot questions.
    • Ballot styles are properly mapped to their respective precincts.
    • Candidate names are accurately spelled.
    • Contests and candidates are displayed in the required order.
    • The parties or political bodies of candidates are properly identified.
    • Names of all parties/independent political bodies are correctly spelled.
    • Audio files are present and properly configured for all candidates and ballot questions.
  • Verify that all votes are aggregated and tabulated correctly, and that all accompanying hardware is in working order.
  • Verify that all voting system component configurations meet certification standards and conditions. □ Verify that the voting system software/firmware works as expected.


Following completion of L&A testing, each county board shall certify to the Secretary of the Commonwealth when they have completed their L&A testing and identify the system configuration for the election. Jurisdictions must complete the attestation at least 15 days prior to every election held in the jurisdiction.

Each county in the Commonwealth establishes its own rules and regulations for public observation of L&A testing. The Board of Elections for each county must be available during the first day of public observation to explain the process and respond to questions. Often times counties will invite the chairs of the respective parties to view the testing to assist with transparency.

Finally, the state mandates the following practices:

  • Administer an oath to those conducting the L & A tests for all persons who are not permanent elections staff.
  • Establish an area where the public can observe the process.
  • Allow only election officials and those conducting tests into the testing area.
  • Prohibit the photocopying of any testing reports or other materials.
  • Prohibit security seals or serial numbers from being photographed for public disclosure.
  • Prohibit photographic and audio equipment, including cell phone cameras from being used to record security seals or serial numbers, provided that this rule does not prohibit the news media from reporting on the testing process, so long as security seals or serial numbers are not recorded or displayed in any fashion.


Once testing is complete, county workers prepare the machines for election day by:

  • Clear totals.
  • Clear the results on the tabulator.
  • Insert new printing tapes.
  • Lock and seal the devices.
  • Shut the machine down.
  • Review the seals and locks once again and document the validation. The best practice is to have one person prepare the machine and then have one or two reviewers review the seals and locks.
  • Any discrepancies noted during the L & A testing must be evaluated in detail to identify the root cause of the problem.
  • If the problem is isolated to a specific machine, that machine must be marked and must not be used on election day.
  • Explain clearly to observers if any discrepancies are noted to ensure that everyone present completely understands the process and conclusion.

6 Responses

  1. Has anyone thought about more widely publicizing these tests and perhaps live streaming them — and recording them for future viewing? This seems like exactly the sort of open, proactive work that could help tamp down election hysteria. We’re in touch with a number of local groups in Pennsylvania that could potentially spread the word.

    1. That’s a good idea. However, the MAGA right wing would selectively edit the tapes to take them out of contacts to make things appear suspicious that are actually correct and normal.

  2. Well summarized and clearly defined. Our county has a robust and fully public L&A process. Naturally, no one attends. It’s distressing when the loudest antagonists of our machines can’t be bothered to take personal responsibility and learn more about this process. But then again, that requires some modicum of effort.

    1. MAGA GOP are all about chaos, lies and confusion, not truth, logic and accuracy.


  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
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    • Makes No Difference (30%)

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