By Kim Nelson, Microsoft Executive Director for e-Government
By end of day – hopefully - we will know the results of state and local elections around the country, in addition to our one national election for the Presidency.
These elections, like all of those leading up to it, would not have been possible were it not for the hard working volunteers and often underpaid staffers – both partisan and non-partisan - who labored hard on behalf of their candidates or to simply ensure that voters were able to navigate sometimes complex and confusing elections requirements. One non-profit organization I would like to call out for their tireless efforts is Pew Charitable Trusts. Working with elections officials across the country, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, AT&T and others, PEW manages the Voting Information Project and created a set of tools to help individuals cast their ballot.
And as we have done post-election every year, in the days ahead, we will surely look back on this election and discuss new campaign techniques that worked, or didn’t work, new uses of technology that worked, or didn’t work, and how these changes will transform future elections.
As a Microsoft employee, I am proud of the work this company has done to make it easier, and more fun, to get election information and to cast a ballot.
· We worked with our partner Democracy Live to develop an Azure based eballoting solution that allowed thousands of voters residing in 52 countries and 7 continents to access their absentee ballots on line.
· We offered for the first time the opportunity for voters to view and comment on the 2012 Presidential Election National Conventions and Debates via Xbox Live.
· We created a combined Bing Elections 2012 page – making it easy to get all of your elections information on one site.
· We worked with the Washington Secretary of State and Facebook to create the first ever opportunity to register to vote via Facebook.
· We worked with ATT&T and Politics 360 to create the Voterhub application for both Windows Phone and Windows 8, to educate voters on elections information.
· We worked with PEW Charitable Trust and our partner EastBanc Technologies to host in Azure the Voting Information Project data – polling place locator, candidate and ballot information, and more – to make it easier for developers and others to access and use election data.
· We worked with the Oregon Secretary of State to use Samsung Windows 8 tablets to reach out to voters with disabilities making it easier for them to use assistive technologies.
· We worked with our partner Democracy Live and Virginia Elections officials in Charlottesville on the first ever use of Microsoft Surface as a balloting device.
· And in 10 states across the country, election night reporting – thanks in large part to partners BPro and PCC Technology Group – will be hosted for the first time in our Azure cloud, ensuring adequate resources for timely election result reporting.