As part of its Defending Democracy Program, Microsoft recently announced that it would extend Windows 7 security updates for free for voting systems in 2020. As you may know, the 10 years old operating system is finally reaching end of support in January 2020, and it turns out that there are still a not so insignificant amount of voting machines that are still using it a year ahead of the next US presidential election.
“As a next step in protecting the 2020 elections, the Defending Democracy Program will make extended security updates available for free to federally certified voting systems running Windows 7. We will do this through the end of 2020, both in the United States and in other democratic countries, as defined by the EIU Democracy Index, that have national elections in 2020 and express interest. We are also working with major manufacturers that have sold voting machines running Windows 7 to ensure any security updates provided to these systems are successful,” explained Tom Burt, CVP of Customer Security & Trust at Microsoft.
In addition to providing extended security updates for free for voting machines still running Windows 7, the company will also offer special technical assistance to election authorities that are Microsoft Azure customers. Government official overseeing 2020 elections can get more details by contacting the Defending Democracy team directly at [email protected].