Tech giant, Microsoft has announced it will offer extended support for free for federally certified voting systems running Windows 7 operating system (OS) through the 2020 elections even as the OS meets its end of support deadline on January 14, 2020.

This announcement is a part of the company’s ‘Defending Democracy Program’.

“We know that transitioning to machines running newer operating systems in time for the 2020 election may not be possible for a number of reasons, including the lengthy voting machine certification process. We are working with government officials to update and make it more agile,” Tom Burt-Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust, wrote in a blog post on Friday.

According to the company, this free support applies to both the US and ‘other democratic countries’, as defined by the EIU Democracy Index.

“We are also announcing today that, as part of the Defending Democracy Program, we are proactively identifying and engaging election authorities that are Microsoft Azure customers to provide guidance and technical assistance in using the most advanced security features in Azure. We provided this service ahead of the 2018 election cycle and will again ahead of the 2020 cycle,” added Burt.

(With input from agencies)