It’s election time in India and being an Indian, reading headlines mentioning faulty Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is common these days. Many countries still follow ballot paper voting as there exists no standard voting platform. Microsoft wants to change it.
At its annual developer event in Seattle, Microsoft has announced ElectionGuard – an open source and free platform to make voting transparent and secure. The open-source software development kit has been developed in collaboration with Galois which is also partner with NASA, DARPA, and the Department of Defense, United States.
ElectionGuard – Transparent & Verified Voting
As per Microsoft, ElectionGuard will offer benefits like end-to-end verification of elections, open results to third-party organizations and will also allow voters to verify their votes.
The verification process in ElectionGuard is based on two concepts – providing each voter a tracker with a unique code and an election verifier to combine with a tracker.
To verify votes, ElectionGuard uses a cryptographic technique that Microsoft calls “homomorphic encryption.” It involves applying mathematical operations to an encrypted set of data without decrypting it.
Microsoft has said that ElectionGuard platform is more of a supporting platform rather than a standalone voting mechanism. It would work with ballot paper voting and can be used as a means to maintain transparency in the voting system.
ElectionGuard will be made available to election officials and election technology suppliers this summer via Github, and the SDK will be ready for piloting during the 2020 elections.
You can read more about Microsoft ElectionGuard here.