Cybersecurity and politics? Microsoft’s ElectionGuard technology says yes! Soon, every voting machine vendor will be free to access the open-source code that’s posted on GitHub.
The ElectionGuard technology was first demonstrated at the Aspen Security Forum not too long ago. According to the company, the technology comes in handy for securing modern voting machines.
That being said, as of right now, Microsoft is only demoing it in a controlled environment. Later this year, the software is planned to be released on GitHub under an open-source license.
Microsoft has revealed that the technology is rather simple in its design. Here’s how it works:
First, the voters receive a tracking code. This can be used by visiting the voting website, thus making sure that the vote has not been tampered with. Bear in mind that every vote is cast in an anonymous fashion, so no third parties can track or analyse votes. On the other hand, the homomorphic encryption technology allows for counting the votes all while they’re still in the encrypted form.
Of course, if you’re a fan of paper ballots, ElectionGuard machines can produce these as well, thus catering to the old-fashioned preferences.
Microsoft reports that ElectionGuard software has already been embraced by certain voting machine vendors. Among the recent partnerships are Clear Ballot and Smartmatic.
ElectionGuard is the newest element of what Microsoft has contributed to its Defending Democracy Program, the aim of which is to arm governments and political parties with free tools for safeguarding the election process.