Microsoft technology gets the vote in U.S. elections

20 September 2012 | Joel Cherkis, General Manager, Worldwide Government

With the 2012 U.S. presidential election coming into view, at Microsoft, we’ve been busier than ever imagining new ways of engaging stakeholders in the political process, as well as deepening our supportive technology role at high-profile political events including the recent Republican and Democratic national conventions.  

This year, I had the honor of personally attending the conventions and witnessing what I believe is one of the most unique political experiences that a person can have. What I love most about the conventions is that they represent the democratic political process in its purist form. The conventions are a place where the entire spectrum of a political party is represented, and where everyday taxpayers and national leaders come together to engage in a conversation about the nation’s future. Today, this “conversation” is not only made accessible at the physical conventions, but is increasingly being extended to the masses through highly interactive, virtual experiences.  At Microsoft, we are proud to provide technologies that are helping extend and deepen this conversation.

As recently highlighted on our U.S. state and local blog, Bright Side of Government, in time for the 2012 U.S. election season we launched Election 2012 on Xbox LIVE. This exciting initiative provides our worldwide community of more than 40 million Xbox LIVE members with live coverage of major events leading up to the U.S. presidential election, as well as interactive polls, news and other resources for stakeholders to share their opinions and stay engaged. The platform even has a voter registration feature developed in partnership with Rock the Vote, providing eligible voters with an opportunity to have their voices heard in the upcoming election. 

In addition to providing this unique platform to inform and encourage public debate leading up to the U.S. election, Microsoft was behind the scenes at the Republican and Democratic national conventions, providing a variety of technology solutions that powered these events. Preparing for these events is very much like launching a start-up company, but with a planned end-date. In a few short days, the number of organizations that were on-site supporting the conventions multiplied by the dozens—all to help orchestrate and manage the massive technology infrastructure required to serve the tens of thousands of attendees present at these events. For a first-hand look at our technology that powered these two conventions, be sure to check out our public sector innovation blog Publicyte, which has all the details. In addition, you can also visit Bright Side of Government for a Q&A that was just published, featuring commentary on Microsoft’s technology role at the conventions from Stan Freck, Director, Office of Civic Innovation for U.S. Public Sector.

What’s clear is that in 2012, technology has become an inseparable part of the political process in the United States, and we’re proud to continue expanding and applying our technology solutions in new ways that support and improve upon this process. With this in mind, I invite you to learn more about our other election technology initiatives in the U.S., including our recently announced partnership with Facebook and Washington State, aimed at increasing voter registration using social media and mobile technology.

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

Joel Cherkis
General Manager, Worldwide Government