Voting Works

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National: ElectionGuard could be Microsoft’s most important product in 2020. If it works | Alfred Ng/CNET

Building 83 doesn’t stand out on Microsoft’s massive Redmond, Washington, headquarters. But last week, the nameless structure hosted what might be the software giant’s most important product of 2020. Tucked away in the corner of a meeting room, a sign reading “ElectionGuard” identifies a touchscreen that asks people to cast their votes. An Xbox adaptive controller is connected to it, as are an all-white printer and a white ballot box for paper votes. If you didn’t look carefully, you might have mistaken all that for an array of office supplies. ElectionGuard is open-source voting-machine software that Microsoft announced in May 2019. In Microsoft’s demo, voters make their choices by touchscreen before printing out two copies. A voter is supposed to double-check one copy before placing it into a ballot box to be counted by election workers. The other is a backup record with a QR code the voter can use to check that the vote was counted after polls close. With ElectionGuard, Microsoft isn’t setting out to create an unhackable vote — no one thinks that’s possible — but rather a vote in which hacks would be quickly noticed. The product demo was far quieter than the typical big tech launch. No flashy lights or hordes of company employees cheering their own product, like Microsoft’s dual screen phone, its highly anticipated dual-screen laptop or its new Xbox Series X. And yet, if everything goes right, ElectionGuard could have an impact that lasts well beyond the flashy products in Microsoft’s pipeline.

Full Article: This could be Microsoft's most important product in 2020. If it works - CNET.

Wisconsin: Microsoft to deploy ElectionGuard voting software for the first time tomorrow | Catalin Cimpanu/ZDNet

Tomorrow, on February 18, residents of Fulton, Wisconsin will elect representatives for the Wisconsin Supreme Court via voting machines that will be running Microsoft’s ElectionGuard software. These will be the first voting machines deployed in any US election that will be running Microsoft’s new voting software, which will face it’s first real-world test since being announced last year. ElectionGuard is a software development kit (SDK) that Microsoft made available for free on GitHub. The project’s goal was to create the voting software that uses strong encryption, was built by some of the world’s brightest cryptographers, and was extensively audited for bugs. Microsoft created ElectionGuard after numerous media reports over the past years about critical vulnerabilities being discovered in the (closed-source) software of multiple voting machine vendors. The OS maker purposely released ElectionGuard as open-source in an attempt to convince voting machine vendors to adopt it instead of their older obsolete and insecure systems. The project, which is viewed with optimism by US election officials, moved lightning-fast, going from a simple idea to an actual US election pilot program in only nine months.

Full Article: Microsoft to deploy ElectionGuard voting software for the first time tomorrow | ZDNet.

Wisconsin: Microsoft tests new voting technology in a small Wisconsin town | Bill Glauber/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Voters in the Town of Fulton, which is 8 miles north of Janesville in Rock County, gave Microsoft’s ElectionGuard software a tryout. ElectionGuard enables voters to verify that their ballot was counted through generating a ballot tracking code. The software also provides encrypted results. VotingWorks, a nonprofit voting software company, supplied the voting equipment, which consisted of card readers, tablets, ballot marking devices and printers. The process appeared seamless. After checking in, voters received a key card to insert into a tablet. They then selected candidates on a touch screen. They printed the ballot and placed it in the ballot box. They received a second printed piece of paper that provided a tracking code that they could use later to verify that their vote was counted, by logging into a Microsoft website.  The verification system does not allow the voter, or anyone else for that matter, to see who they voted for. Although it was the first time the software was used in an election, this was just a test. All of the paper ballots voters cast were to be hand-counted by local election officials.

Full Article: Microsoft tests new voting technology in a small Wisconsin town.