Earlier this month, we previewed Microsoft’s work to power the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. Today, we are officially launching the 2016 election year blog series, which will detail how Microsoft technology is improving the elections process.
At Microsoft, we believe technology can create a more secure, accurate, and efficient elections experience. With our partners, we are using our expertise to facilitate the process in three major ways:
Helping governments administer the elections process.
In recent years, Microsoft has been working with a variety of partners to build solutions designed to accelerate innovation and reduce the cost and complexity of administering elections. For example, Microsoft partner EastBanc Technologies has developed a widget on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform aimed at helping citizens navigate the voting process. Our partner Election Systems & Software is using Windows tablets to make it more convenient for voters to electronically check in and to validate and update their registration information. And Microsoft partner Scytl has built a number of solutions including Scytl ePollbook, which uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft SQL Server to expedite voter check-in and registration. These partners join Democracy Live, BPro, , GCR EveryoneCounts, Clear Ballot and many others who are using Microsoft technology to improve voting efficiency.
Improve media and voter access to information.
In order to cast their ballots, voters need to be informed. And to help citizens get the information they need, Microsoft and its partners are working with the media to make it easier to collect and disseminate information. For example, CNN and other major broadcasters are using Microsoft Pulse during the presidential debates to gauge audience feedback to the comments of the candidates in near-real time. We also worked with CNN to enhance its Magic Wall, an on-air interactive display that uses data and graphics to present election night results. At the same time, Microsoft is presenting elections information directly to voters through forums like which allows voters to compare the presidential candidate’s views on the issues, includes an election timeline, and provides links to elections news coverage.
Providing campaigns with the information they need:
Finally, we are helping the Democratic and Republican national committees as well as candidates on both sides of the aisle to obtain the data they need to effectively manage their campaigns. It’s important to note that Microsoft does not take a stand on which candidate should be elected. Rather, our goal is to help all the presidential candidates, regardless of their views, use technology to enhance their campaigns. Using Microsoft Azure, they can securely store and analyze vast amounts of data, while obtaining anytime, anywhere access to the information they need. And with Microsoft Power BI, they can bring this data to life by creating rich dashboards that enable them to quickly spot trends. We’ve also been working with partners such as InterKnowlogy to help candidates integrate data from diverse sources so they can better visualize where to focus their dollars, their people, and their efforts during the course of their campaigns.
Our goal is to use our expertise in technology, data, and business intelligence throughout the 2016 presidential election to help bring about a better experience for all involved.
Over the coming months, we will be blogging about our efforts at different points during the election cycle and the impact they’re having on the US election process. Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will describe our work to provide technology solutions to campaigns, national parties, and their key technology vendors.
Have a question regarding Azure government? Ask it here. Be sure to also request one of our available trials: Azure Government Trial, Office 365 Government Trial along with the Election Modernization webinar and brief.