Microsoft says that the new solution, which it developed with Galois, a maker of "software correctness" tools, "will enable end-to-end verification of elections, open results to third-party organizations for secure validation, and allow individual voters to confirm their votes were correctly counted."
Election tampering has become an issue of great concern to democratic governments around the world and as they seek to create more convenient voting systems enabled by technology, the security, verifiability and auditability of those systems are of critical importance. As the world's largest software company, Microsoft believes it must play a role in helping protect democratic processes from "cyber-enabled interference" and last year, it launched a Defending Democracy Program.
The ElectionGuard SDK is part of that program. It incorporates encryption technology developed by Microsoft Research and will be offered free of charge to vendors in the election industry under the MIT Open Source License. The software giant says that the SDK can be used in a standalone fashion or integrated into larger systems. Not surprisingly, ElectionGuard can be employed on devices running Windows, but it also supports devices running other operating systems.
Microsoft plans to make ElectionGuard available on GitHub this summer.