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Wed Jul 31, 2019, 09:41 PM

Microsoft: Protecting democratic elections through secure, verifiable voting

Today, at the Microsoft Build developer conference, CEO Satya Nadella announced ElectionGuard, a free open-source software development kit (SDK) from our Defending Democracy Program. ElectionGuard will make voting secure, more accessible, and more efficient anywhere itís used in the United States or in democratic nations around the world. ElectionGuard, developed with the assistance of our partner Galois, will be available starting this summer to election officials and election technology suppliers who can incorporate the technology into voting systems. Among ElectionGuardís many benefits, it will enable end-to-end verification of elections, open results to third-party organizations for secure validation, and allow individual voters to confirm their votes were correctly counted.

We are also announcing today that we have partnered with major election technology suppliers who are exploring the integration of ElectionGuard into their voting systems. We currently have partnerships with election technology suppliers responsible for more than half of the voting machines sold in the U.S. To help these partners, other vendors and election officials to visualize how ElectionGuard can modernize and secure the vote, we are building a reference voting system, which we will make public later this year, that will showcase the capabilities that ElectionGuard enables.

We believe technology companies have a responsibility to help protect our democratic processes and institutions. Modern technology can be used to ensure the voting process is resilient. At the same time, ElectionGuard is not intended to replace paper ballots but rather to supplement and improve systems that rely on them, and it is not designed to support internet voting. In short, ElectionGuard is a new tool for use by the existing election community and government entities that run elections.

ElectionGuard can be used to build systems with five major benefits that will protect the vote against tampering by anyone, and improve the voting process for citizens and officials:

Verifiable: Allowing voters and third-party organizations to verify election results.

Secure: Built with advanced encryption techniques developed by Microsoft Research.

Auditable: Supporting risk-limiting audits that help assure the accuracy of elections.

Open source: Free and flexible with the ability to be used with off-the-shelf hardware.

Make voting better: Supporting standard accessibility tools and improving the voting experience.


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