The first real-world test of Microsoft’s Electionguard voting machine software platform has been a success, according to Tom Burt, Microsoft CVP Customer Security and Trust.

He tweeted that when used during the election of representatives for the Wisconsin Supreme Court at Fulton, Wisconsin, the ElectionGuard encrypted tally matched the official hand-counted tally and, shortly after the polls closed, voters were able to verify their votes were counted through ElectionGuard apps.

The software was only used for a few hundred votes but may see a rapid roll-out to other voting machines.

Voting machine vendors Smartmatic and Clear Ballot have already announced partnerships with Microsoft and Dominion Voting Systems said it was also exploring using the SDK.

The platform is designed to be verifiable using homomorphic encryption and in addition, also produces a paper ballot that can be counted separately.

It has the following features:

  • First, a voter will select candidates on a touchscreen and verify their choices
  • Second, the voter will print and review for accuracy a paper ballot and simultaneously receive a separate tracking code.
  • Third, the voter will deposit their paper ballot into a ballot box for counting.
  • They can use the tracking code on an election website to verify that their vote has been counted and that the vote has not been altered. The tracking code does not reveal the vote, so it won’t allow third-parties to see who voted for who.
  • Homomorphic encryption allows the counting of votes while keeping the votes encrypted.
  • The ElectionGuard SDK also supports third-party “verifier” apps to independently check if encrypted votes have been counted properly and not altered.
  • Verifier apps were created for voting officials, the media, or any third party interested in the voting process.
  • ElectionGuard also supports voting through accessibility hardware, such as Microsoft Surface or the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

Burt confirmed that the voting process went smoothly and that there will be further pilots in the future.

Read more at Microsoft here.

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