This past Sunday, a new parliament was elected in Estonia. Just like in Germany the voters were able to cast their ballots before the actual election date. Yet while the only option here is the postal vote, in Estonia the voters are able to cast their ballots online as well. This year’s election saw nearly every fifth Estonian voter taking the opportunity to vote online – a new record.
New online voting record
Voting through the internet was possible from 19 to 25 February. Nearly 60 per cent of the votes cast before Election Day were sent online in this period. In all, 176,491 voters cast their ballots online in Estonia this year. This equates to nearly a fifth of all votes cast. At the same time, however, the record of 150,000 online voters was surpassed, as 140,846 votes were cast online during the last parliamentary election in 2011.
Online voting was also very popular among Estonian citizens living abroad. 5.71 per cent of all votes cast were sent in by expats. These votes came from 116 countries. The independence of time and geography while casting votes is one of the many benefits of voting online.
In this Video the Estonian electoral authorities show how online voting in Estonia works.
Opportunity to vote online increases voter participation
Estonia is the first country in the world to hold national parliamentary elections online as well – for ten years now. During the first chance to vote online in 2005, 30,243 voters cast their ballots through the internet, and this number grew to 140,846 during the next election in 2011.
The introduction of online voting also increased voter participation in Estonia. Before the first opportunity to vote online, participation amounted to 58.2 per cent in 2003, and was far greater during this year’s election with 64 per cent.
Image source for this article: Bildpixel/pixelio.de