Elections management and the cloud: a perfect match

28 February 2013 | Andy Pitman, Microsoft eGovernment Solutions

​Elections pose a unique technology challenge for governments around the world. As fundamental components of any democracy, they require the highest security standards and the ability to efficiently manage large amounts of data, and yet they only occur at certain times during the year. When preparing for elections, governments need unique computing resources for a short period of time, and then don’t need them again until the next elections cycle. Traditional server-based elections systems are costly to build, costly to manage, and force governments to make enormous investments in technologies that they only use occasionally. To reduce these costs, many public sector IT leaders are turning to cloud computing solutions that enable governments to pay only for the technology they need, when they need it.   

It all comes back to the cloud’s ability to scale to meet demand, and there are a host of emerging elections management solutions that are driving efficiencies in several key areas. 

To learn more, see our new elections solutions thought paper or read on below:

Registration

The first step to voting is registration, and many governments are moving towards online, paperless processes.  For example, Washington State recently partnered with Microsoft on development of the first-ever Facebook voter registration application!  

Voting

In 2008, the Pew Center on the States found that U.S. voters often searched for polling locations online, with mixed success.  As part of its Voting Information Project, Pew partnered with Microsoft to make polling place information from all 50 U.S. states available online through the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud computing platform.   

Reporting

The incredible traffic and data demands placed on governments during elections can be overwhelming, and can complicate the process of quickly reporting accurate outcomes. As a result, many U.S. states successfully leveraged reporting solutions hosted in Windows Azure during the 2012 U.S. election cycle, to ensure they had enough computing power to handle election-night volume. 

These examples are truly just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how cloud computing is transforming modern elections.  For more information on the latest election management innovation, check out our most recent elections solutions thought paper

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

 
 
Andy Pitman
Microsoft eGovernment Solutions

About the Author

Andy Pitman | Microsoft eGovernment Solutions

Andy is focused on helping government customers improve the efficiency and quality of their technology. He works with customers and partners to develop innovations in areas such as information fusion centers, elections, records management, and more. Read more