Estonia Breaks its Own Record for Number of E-Votes Cast

By Beecher Tuttle March 03, 2011

More than 15 percent of the electorate in Estonia cast their votes for this year's general election using the Internet, according to the AFP. The 140,846 e-votes represent a record total for the Baltic state, surpassing the 104,000 ballots that were submitted via the Web in 2009 for the state's local elections.

Estonia rolled out electronic voting in 2005, and is still the only parliamentary nation that allows citizens to cast their ballots using the Web. In this particular round of elections, Estonians were able to pre-vote electronically between Feb. 24 and March 2. The traditional parliamentary elections don't take place until March 6.

To cast their ballots over the Internet, all Estonians needed to do was download a specific piece of software and sign in to a secure site using their ID card number, according to the news source. Online voters in Estonia also have the advantage of changing their minds. Citizens who cast their ballots during the pre-voting period can go to a polling station on March 6, and place a vote that will overturn their previous ballot, M&C reports.

Although Estonia has embraced e-voting for six years now, the movement has yet to develop any real momentum. Switzerland will be the second country to adopt the technology later this year for its October elections, but only for a select number of expatriate voters.

"Estonia is still unique in having full e-voting at the national parliamentary level," Swiss e-voting official Michel Chevallier told the AFP. "Switzerland is second after Estonia as far as Internet voting is concerned."

The initial polls suggest that Estonia’s ruling Reform Party should be in good shape for Sunday's election. The party, led by the current Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, is expected to retain the majority in the nation's 101-seat parliament.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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