The Estonian i-voting system has settled a new record.
During the last local elections held on October 15, 186,034 citizens voted online. 31,7% of voters have cast their ballot electronically, which is also a new record if we consider the share of i-votes on the total amount of votes; at the same time, the 23,3% of them voted via mobile-ID, twice more than the share reached during the last Parliamentary elections in 2015.
For the first time the Estonian Parliament has decided to give people between 16 and 17 years the right to vote; out of 24,153 new eligible young voters, only 7,4% of them voted online without giving a significant impact on the general turnout. On the other side, there was an important growth of i-voters among those aged over 55. During the first local i-voting elections, only the 15% used this option compared to the 27% of this year. Nevertheless, in an age where both young and old generation are loosing their trust in politics, internet voting can increase political participation – and thus democracy.
The internet voting has given one more time the chance to vote to whom might not had the possibility to do so, as for example to people with mobility issues, expats who are living temporarily abroad or just people living in the countryside (before the last local elections roughly 90% of votes from expats in Estonian elections were cast as e-votes).
The i-voting – which differs from other methods of voting like electronic ballot machines, in the international context – is secure and the whole system is perceived as respectful of the privacy of its users. “The e-vote is safe. This is also confirmed by the fact that more and more people trust it (i.e. the number of people who have voted through their laptop or mobile phone is constantly increasing )”, Lia Hänni has declared, director of the e-Government Academy’s e-democracy department.
Priit Vinkel, the director of the State Election Service, has also remarked the importance of data audit during the last elections: “All votes that make it to our servers are checked in such a way that we can assert mathematically that those same votes are actually counted as well, that nobody has added something, or taken something away”, in fact not only the voters but also the auditors were able to check the integrity and completeness of the data published by the organizer of the systems.