Defending the vote – an overview of Estonian election security


At the beginning of December, Princeton University published an overview “Defending the Vote: Estonia creates a network to combat disinformation, 2016-2020”, which describes the developments that have taken place in Estonia in the fight against disinformation in those years

The overview was compiled by Tyler McBrien, a researcher at the Princeton University School of Public and International Affair’s Innovation for Successful Societies program, who has compiled a 22-page, interview-based overview. He describes in great detail the joint activities of the Estonian Electoral Service and the State Chancellery in order to exclude influencing of the election process and results.

The overview focuses on the observations and activities of the long-time head of the election service, Priit Vinkel, in the period after the 2016 US presidential election, when the world became aware of large-scale interference in the US elections, primarily by Russia.

In addition, Siim Kumpas and Kersti Luha, coordinators of the State Chancellery for Election Security, Liisa Past, a cyber security expert who worked at the State Chancellery during the 2019 Estonian parliamentary elections, and Lauri Tankler, RIA’s lead analyst in electoral security, contributed to the analysis.

The review describes in detail the challenges and activities of the network set up to ensure the security of the elections, and the lessons learned are presented as recommendations to other countries.

Propastop has also been included in the overview, and the case of the network of fake accounts discovered on social media has been described in detail in the review.

Photo: FutUndBeidl/Flickr/CC