Estonia allows voting by mobile phone in polls

RIGA, May 8: Citizens of Estonia will be able to cast their votes in elections by mobile phone in future after the Parliament in Tallinn approved a corresponding bill from the government of the Baltic EU and NATO-member state on Tuesday.  

According to the bill, electronic voting will not only be possible on computers, but also via special apps for the common operating systems on mobile devices. 

The technical requirements are to be determined by the electoral commission before each election. 

The change in the law is due to come into force in October. The mobile voting option cannot yet be used for the European Parliament elections in June. 

According to Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and IT, Tiit Riisalo, the new regulation is intended to take into account of the change in citizens’ usage behaviour. 

“A significant proportion of people’s daily digital activities have shifted from computers to smart devices, and e-Estonia must be accessible to everyone on these new and widespread platforms,” said the minister.

In 2005, Estonia was the first country in Europe to allow online voting in political elections. 

Internationally, the procedure is controversial in many places due to doubts about its reliability. 

In the Baltic state, which likes to call itself e-Estonia, it has prevailed: More than half of all votes were cast digitally in the parliamentary elections in March 2023. 

The 1.2 million citizens of the Baltic state can also do almost everything online in their everyday lives. 

Estonia is considered a pioneer and trailblazer of digitalisation and electronic administration in Europe.