Microsoft ElectionGuard software gets first test in Fulton, Wisconsin

A human being votes utilizing with a machine that attracts on Microsoft’s ElectionGuard application in Fulton, Wisconsin, on February 18, 2020.


Persons in the tiny Wisconsin town of Fulton are the initial to try out software Microsoft built to validate that votes are remaining thoroughly counted. On Tuesday, Fulton inhabitants are working with the technological know-how even though deciding on who will be part of the regional school board and hold a seat on Wisconsin’s point out supreme courtroom.

Microsoft’s ElectionGuard application can rely votes electronically whilst delivering a independent implies for voters to affirm that their votes are involved in tallies, Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for buyer security and have faith in, stated Thursday.

Votes them selves are encrypted employing a strategy produced by Microsoft Analysis, so that no one can see how an unique voted, Burt explained in a media briefing at firm headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Immediately after a particular person votes, a printer subsequent to the voting system generates a piece of paper, which the voter can view to make positive the votes were being recorded adequately and then fall into the ballot box. The paper also reveals an online location that voters can glimpse at later on to make certain their vote was counted, though this net site does not present who they voted for, he claimed.

The ElectionGuard know-how will not likely be responsible for tallying votes in the Wisconsin major election, however. Election officers will even now depend paper votes for the principal, a Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesperson instructed CNBC on Tuesday. It is technologically doable for a jurisdiction to depend on the software’s digital counts and then fall back to paper ballots for verification, but the units featuring Microsoft engineering that men and women are employing in Fulton on Tuesday have not been qualified with the point out, the spokesperson claimed.

Microsoft stated ElectionGuard will never be material to the firm’s company, considering the fact that it’s no cost to use, and that the business has no intention of getting into the voting-hardware sector. It is simply intended to assist restore people’s religion in voting, the corporation reported.

If it functions, it could make Microsoft look like it truly is supporting with the democratic procedure. That would be in distinction to organizations these as Facebook and Twitter, which have viewed their technological innovation made use of for political aims in techniques they say they under no circumstances supposed.

As a to start with stage, Microsoft worked with point out, county and city election officials and nonprofit voting equipment company VotingWorks to embed ElectionGuard into voting gadgets that persons are making use of in Fulton, which has a populace of 3,257.

A voting device that uses Microsoft ElectionGuard application.


The little exam market is intended simply to give Microsoft suggestions. The corporation stated it needs to see if voters like the encounter and to make certain everything is effective as it should really.

The point out selected Fulton since counting ballots there would not be much too difficult, but there would also be a large enough sample sizing to see what people today feel of the know-how, the Wisconsin election spokesman stated.

Microsoft is keen to get the technologies far more greatly adopted, if not in time for the 2020 presidential elections, then it’s possible in time for the midterm elections in 2022, Burt explained.

“The reaction from all three principal vendors [of voting devices] has been favourable, and we’re operating with all of them,” Burt stated.

Microsoft has even received fascination in ElectionGuard from outside the house the U.S., like from a developer in Europe who’s fascinated in the technological know-how for metropolis elections, Burt stated.

“We may see this tech integrated in nationwide or quite big elections outdoors the United States even before it’s included inside the United States,” he reported.

Watch: Microsoft: A few midterm candidates qualified by phishing attacks

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