Microsoft’s vote tracking software clears a major obstacle

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Extremely urgent Seeking to ensure U.S. elections Safe and reliable, Microsoft’s ElectionGuard software has always been an attractive development. The project was launched in 2019 and provides so-called “end-to-end verifiability”, which means that all voting data is encrypted and private, but it is still completely transparent to understand how the votes are counted and whether the winner’s decision is correct. It is open source and is designed to be integrated into the existing voting system.Last year, Microsoft successfully Real-world elections.

The question, however, is whether manufacturers of private voting machines-competing with each other in a regulated market-are willing to adopt technology that any competitor can use. At least one company now agrees.

On Thursday, Microsoft and Hart InterCivic, one of the three major voting machine manufacturers in the United States, joined forces Announce Pilot the partnership with ElectionGuard in Hart’s Verity voting system. The idea is to combine Hart’s existing voting equipment with the significantly expanded software capabilities of ElectionGuard. The system will always generate paper backups, encrypted in a special way to allow counting, while protecting complete voter security and privacy, and expanding the ability to conduct post-election audits. Hart’s ElectionGuard product will also enable voters to check whether their votes have been counted. And the system is independently verifiable-anyone can build an application to confirm the voting results of a particular election.

This news was released at a time when American voters were full of doubt and uncertainty. Although election officials declared the 2020 election to be one of the safest in the country’s history, the country clearly still has the scars of former President Donald Trump. Work hard to damage Voters’ confidence in the election. January, Pew Established More than three-quarters of Trump voters believe Trump may or certainly won the election – despite Joe Biden Is a legitimate winner. The 2020 presidential election results audit still exists (controversial and troubled) Procrastination in Arizona. Republican lawmakers in many states have been pushing The wave of voting reform laws In recent months, critics have said this has weakened citizens’ right to vote.

Julie Mathis, CEO and President of Hart InterCivic, said: “Election officials are eager for any tool to enhance auditability, verifiability, and transparency, thereby enhancing voters’ confidence.” “Importantly, this product is designed to satisfy the real world. Election needs.”

Hart InterCivic is one of three private suppliers that make most of the voting equipment used in the US elections, in addition to ES&S and Dominion. Hart is the smallest of the three, but its voting equipment, including touch-screen voting machines and paper scanners, is used in voting districts in more than a dozen states, including Texas (where the company’s headquarters is located) and California , Michigan, North Carolina, and Kentucky. The company has produced ballots and other election equipment for more than 100 years.

However, although this is a public announcement of a step forward in cooperation with Microsoft, detailed information about where the ElectionGuard software will actually be used remains to be announced. “We have been working hard to perfect suitable pilot sites to communicate with jurisdictions of all sizes,” Mathis said. “We have also been working with the states because it is very important to get state approval to integrate one of the pilots.”

Microsoft’s ElectionGuard is undoubtedly a newer product, but it is derived from More than ten years of research. ElectionGuard relies on a method called “Homomorphic encryption“In order to protect the sanctity and safety of the secret ballots at every step of the electoral system, while still allowing the counting of these ballots and auditing the results.

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