ElectionGuard is a free, open-source software development kit, developed in partnership with Galois; that provides security and public verifiability for elections, as well as guidance and tools to build more accessible voting systems. The end goal is for governments and technology companies to work together to safeguard the electoral processes.
Like their new London store, Microsoft have designed the voting system to be more inclusive. At the Aspren Security Forum, Microsoft demonstrated how the employment of an Xbox Adaptive Controller, in addition to a Microsoft Surface tablet in kiosk mode can make voting much easier for those with disabilities.
Another key feature of Electionguard is the use of a tracking code to verify that someone’s vote hasn’t been altered, and that it has been counted. This is made possible through homomorphic encryption, specifically designed by
Microsoft are the first to trial the use of homomorphic encryption; which has made it possible to provide demo users with a tracking code, to verify that their vote has been securely cast, and not altered.
Homomorphic encryption is a form of encryption that allows computation on ciphertexts; generating an encrypted result which, when decrypted, matches the result of operations as if they had been performed on the plaintext.
End-to-end verifiability is another feature that is of note. Voters are provided with a physical record of their votes, which can be checked by placing them into a traditional ballot box.
The capabilities of this voting system are already looking promising, and after Microsoft’s recent partnership with two leading voting tech vendors- Smartmatic and Clear Ballot-, even more innovative ideas are on the way. For example, Risk Limiting Audits, which compares ballots with ballot counts.