It shall be the duty of the committee to ensure the examination and certification of electronic vote counting systems in the following manner:
(1) By publicly examining all makes of electronic vote counting systems submitted and certifying whether such systems comply with the requirements of this section.
(2) By inviting any vendor or company interested in selling an electronic vote counting system in Alabama to submit such equipment for examination. The vote counting system shall be certified after a satisfactory evaluation and testing has been performed to determine that the equipment meets the requirements of this article and performance and test standards for electronic voting systems issued by the Federal Election Commission. The committee may use certification of the equipment by an authorized independent testing authority, or successor entity, as evidence that the equipment meets the requirements of Section 17-7-21 and this section, where certification by the independent testing authority, or successor entity, is applicable. For the purpose of assisting in examining such system, the committee may employ not more than three individuals who are expert in one or more fields of data processing, mechanical engineering, and public administration, who may or may not be state employees and shall require from them a written report of their examination. The vendor submitting a system for certification shall pay to the State of Alabama by depositing with the State Treasury for distribution to reimburse the committee in an amount equal to the actual costs, if any, incurred in examining the system. Such reimbursement shall be made whether or not the system is certified. No member of the committee nor any examiner shall have any pecuniary interest in any voting equipment.
(3) The committee shall approve only those electronic vote counting systems that are certified by an authorized independent testing authority, or successor entity, as meeting the performance and test standards for electronic voting systems issued by the Federal Election Commission.
(4) After certification of any electronic vote counting system, the Secretary of State shall make and maintain a report on the system, and as soon as practicable shall send a notice of certification and, upon request, a copy of the report to all governing bodies of the counties of the state. Any electronic vote counting system that does not receive certification shall not be adopted or used at any election.
(5) After an electronic vote counting system has been certified, any change or improvement in the system shall be certified by the committee prior to the adoption of such change or improvement by any county. The committee shall re-examine the electronic vote counting system to the extent necessary to determine that it, as changed or improved, is in compliance with the requirements of this article. If the system, as changed or improved, is not in compliance, the committee shall suspend all sales of the equipment or system in the state until such equipment or system complies with the requirements of this article.
(6) The adoption of an electronic vote counting system in which votes are recorded on an electronic ballot as authorized in this article is hereby validated. It is the legislative intent of this subsection to declare that the use of electronic vote counting systems in which votes are recorded on an electronic ballot has, since the enactment of the Election Reform Act of 1983, been an acceptable method of electronic vote counting.