The 6th instalment of Enter e-Estonia: the video series, takes a look at e-governance. This is the various ways in which governmental services are offered and conducted digitally.
In this video: e-governance
The first of these services was Estonia’s 1999 implementation of its online tax declaration. This allows citizens to complete their taxes in under 3 minutes and with just a few clicks. The ease of e-tax helped spawn additional services, and laid the groundwork for a user-friendly and inclusive digital society.
In 2000, Estonia discarded its paper-based system in favour of e-cabinet. Politicians could login with their e-ID on their laptops and smartphones. From there they can see upcoming session agendas, and vote on preliminary topics before the actual meeting. Not only has this cut down paper consumption, but it has led to a decrease in parliamentary session lengths. Meaning that now this paperless parliament lasts an average of 30 minutes, as opposed to the previous 4 hours!
With the ability for government officials to vote online, the rest of the country got on board for i-voting. And in 2005, Estonia became the first country in the world to offer online voting for nation-wide elections. Now in a matter of minutes, citizens can vote in local, national, and European elections. The process is done by logging into the i-voting software and signing with the user’s digital signature, making it more secure than a paper ballot. Plus, it has brought the cost of voting down, 2.34 euro to cast a vote online instead of 6.24 euro for a physical vote. And it enables people with lower mobility or time restraints the chance to participate in the voting process.
e-Governance is a topic that has limitless possibilities. Currently, Estonia is working towards providing more proactive governance to its citizens. There’s always a need for such digital solutions, as well as pursuing innovative ways to make them better. Next up is mobility services. Stay tuned!