Microsoft Introduces ElectionGuard to Boost Election Security and Verifiability
Microsoft has announced a new platform called ElectionGuard, which aims to increase election security and transparency.
- By Jessica Davis
- May 10, 2019
Microsoft has announced a new free, open-source platform called ElectionGuard, with the goal of increasing election security and transparency.
ElectionGuard is not a complete voting machine. Instead, it’s a platform for handling voting data, and part of Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program.
The goal is to allow voters to track their votes securely and privately, and to allow authorities to tabulate, store and audit the votes.
“ElectionGuard provides a complete implementation of end-to-end verifiable elections. It is designed to work with systems that use paper ballots, supplementing today’s tabulation process by providing a means of public verification of the accuracy of reported results,” according to Microsoft.
The ElectionGuard platform would serve as an add-on to existing voting systems. When a voter casts their ballot, the data would be entered in a state’s election system as well as into ElectionGuard. The voter would receive a tracking code that they could use to see that their vote has been recorded locally at the correct polling place and even perhaps that it has been sent on to auditing by state authorities.
ElectionGuard would also securely record and tabulate all votes, though it would not replace existing tabulation processes. If votes were to be audited, random ballots could be chosen from the database and compared with paper ballots to check for discrepancies.
According to TechCrunch, these processes would happen without Microsoft or the ElectionGuard administrators knowing how any individual voted, thanks to a cryptographic method called homomorphic encryption.
The tech is set to be made available this summer and piloted during the 2020 elections.
Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.