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Vivaldi developer Patricia Aas shares her story of a personal Twitter campaign challenging Norway’s ballot counting system and being heard – just 10 days ahead of a parliamentary election.

Ballot Count

This last week has been a harrowing experience for me. I’m an introverted programmer and generally a very private person, and in the space of just a few days I was suddenly in the news, both nationally and internationally. Even though the experience was completely overwhelming, I have rarely been so touched and so grateful.

The backstory is a personal campaign of mine on Twitter. I have been interested in election systems since I did my masters thesis in that field 12 years ago, and the last year has really brought the security of election systems to the mainstream public worldwide. This summer the security conference Defcon in Las Vegas (NV) featured a Hacking Village for voting machines, and with this background I began to tweet questions about the security of the Norwegian election systems. The questions focused mostly on the electronic ballot counting system and were directed at the Norwegian Directorate of Elections and the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation.

They ignored me.

However, I don’t want to talk about that now, because how the rest of the story unfolded has reaffirmed for me both the power of people coming together online, and how a free society is a multifaceted and valuable thing.

Saturday, a week and a half ago, I tweeted out a thread in frustration. It summarized my research so far into this ballot counting system. Suddenly my thread was retweeted and liked by hundreds of people in the scope of just a few hours and it reached the media. The people lifting up my thread were people all over Norway interested in tech and security.

Patricia Aas
Written by Patricia Aas

Programmer with Vivaldi, mostly C++ (ex-Opera & ex-Cisco) Security Noob. Mother. Occasional speaker. Pronouns: she/her.


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