Electronic voting in Estonia
The idea of having electronic voting in Estonia gained popularity in 2001 with the "e-minded" coalition government. Estonia became the first nation to hold legally binding general elections over the Internet with their pilot project for the municipal elections in 2005. The electronic voting system withstood the test of reality and was declared a success by Estonian election officials. The Estonian parliamentary election, 2007 also used internet voting, another world first.
Despite praise from Estonian election officials, computer security experts that have reviewed the system have voiced sharp criticism, warning that any voting system which transmits voted ballots electronically cannot be secure. This criticism was underscored in May 2014 when a team of International computer security experts released the results of their examination of the system and found they were able to breach the system, change votes and vote totals, and erase any evidence of their actions. The independent security experts called on the Estonian government to halt all online voting, but their concerns were dismissed by the Estonian Internet Voting Committee.
Although the term electronic voting (or e-voting) can refer to both fixed voting locations (as in voting booths) and remote (as in over the Internet) electronic voting, in Estonia the term is used exclusively for remote Internet voting. The security model is modeled after the way in which advance voting and postal voting is handled.
Overview of Estonian Internet voting
The Estonian internet voting system builds on the Estonian ID card. The card is a regular and mandatory national identity document as well as a smart card allowing for both secure remote authentication and legally binding digital signatures by using the Estonian state supported public key infrastructure. As of March 2007 over 1.08 million cards have been issued (out of a population of about 1.32 million).
Internet voting is available during an early voting period (sixth day to fourth day prior to Election Day). Voters can change their electronic votes an unlimited number of times, with the final vote being tabulated. It is also possible for anyone who votes using the Internet to vote at a polling station during the early voting period, invalidating their Internet vote. It is not possible to change or annul the electronic vote on the Election Day.
The principle of "one person, one vote" is sustained as the voter can potentially cast more than one ballot but still only a single vote. This was challenged in August 2005 by Arnold Rüütel, the President of Estonia, who saw the new e-voting provisions in the Local Government Council Election Act as a breach of the principle of equality of voting. The President brought a petition against the e-voting provisions to Estonian Supreme Court but lost.
In the 2011 parliamentary elections, 140,846 people voted over the Internet.This means that roughly 15,4% of the persons with the right to vote and 24,3% of participating voters gave their vote over the Internet. It was also the first election to allow for voting through chip-secure mobile phones, following a law approved by Parliament in 2008.
In 2007 Estonia held its and the world's first general elections with Internet voting available from February 26 to 28. A total of 30,275 citizens used Internet voting (3.4%), which means for every 30 eligible voters one of them voted through the Internet.
In 2005 Estonia became the first country to offer Internet voting nationally in local elections. 9,317 people voted online (1.9%).
Outcome and results
See the material on the homepage of the Estonian National Electoral Committee: http://www.vvk.ee/index.php?id=11509
Number of persons with the right to vote: 1,059,292 Votes: 502,504 - valid (with e-votes) 496,336 - invalid 6,168 Voter turnout: 47% E-votes given: 9,681 - incl. repeated e-votes 364 Number of e-voters: 9,317 E-votes counted: 9,287 E-votes cancelled: 30 Percentage of e-votes among all votes: 1.85% Percentage of e-votes among votes of advance polls: 8% Number of e-voters who used ID card electronically for the first time: 5,774 Percentage of e-voters who used ID card electronically for the first time: 61%
- Reports and Statistics about Internet Voting in Estonia
- Estonia to hold first national Internet election, News.com, February 21, 2007
- "Report on the Estonian Internet voting system," Sept. 3, 2011. https://www.verifiedvoting.org/report-on-the-estonian-internet-voting-system-2/
- "Independent Report on E-voting in Estonia," https://estoniaevoting.org/
- What is the ID card?
- ID Card Issuing Statistics info-box at the top of the page
- Elections and E-Voting
- Judgment of the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court, Case No. 3-4-1-13-05
- "Statistics about Internet Voting in Estonia".
- Jari Tanner, Associated Press (2008-12-12). "Estonia to vote by mobile phone in 2011". USA Today.
- "E-hääletanute arv tõusis üle 100 000".
- "Internet Voting in Estonia".
- Estonia claims new e-voting first, BBC March 1, 2007
- Estonia pulls off nationwide Net voting, News.com, October 17, 2005
- Internet Voting in Estonia: Statistics and Methodology
- E-Voting in the 2005 local elections in Estonia by Fabian Breuer and Alexander H. Trechsel, European University Institute, Report for the Council of Europe
- E-Voting Uses in Elections in Estonia Entry on Estonia in the International E-Voting Database hosted by E-Voting.CC
- Practical Security Analysis of E-voting Systems by Triinu Mägi, a master thesis studying the security of the Estonian e-voting system and Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE)
- E-Voting Conference: Lessons learnt and future challenges Agenda and presentations of the Oct 2006 Tallinn conference, hosted by the e-Governance Academy (an Estonian e-governance and e-democracy NGO, organiser of the event)
- 2nd International Workshop on Electronic Voting 2006 in Bregenz, Austria.
- An interview on YouTube about the trust-aspect of i-voting in Estonia with Thad Hall from the University of Utah who was observing the elections in Estonia. Skip to 01:30 for the actual interview.
- "Online Voting Clicks in Estonia" An article in Wired News on e-voting in Estonia that is also mentioned at the beginning of the interview with Thad Hall.
- An interview on YouTube about i-voting in Estonia with Thad Hall from the University of Utah who was observing the elections in Estonia.