Election Universe

10 years of successful i-voting in Estonia

10 years of successful i-voting in Estonia
February 20 2015, 08:39

An outstanding study carried out by Kristjan Vassil and Mihkel Solvak, political researchers at the University of Tartu in Estonia, confirmed that electronic voting has proven its worth over the past ten years. Research results showed that different population groups embrace the internet voting solution in equal measure.

Internet voting was first enabled in 2005. The opportunity to cast an electronic vote in the comfort of one’s own home was seized by 9,800 people. Most of them were well-educated middle-aged citizens.

A similar situation was observed during the 2007 general election and 2009 EU elections. According to professor Solvak, i-voting was often seen as a “toy of the elites and a maker of winners”. People thought that i-voting was more beneficial to some parties than others.

However, research data showed that this was not the case. Although internet voters were a very specific group of citizens, i-voting did not favored a certain party. “It’s simply that the part of the electorate that would always vote for the Reform Party, changed the way it cast its vote,” Solvak explained. Regardless of i-voting availability, people would actually go and vote for their favorite party.

The situation changed during the 2009 local elections, to which the “educated wealthy male” hypothesis no longer applies.

Internet-voting entered the masses and lost its “predictive value”. Factors as gender, income, education, ethnicity or even computer literacy do not influence the probability of being an internet-voter.

According to the Researchers the likelihood of casting one’s vote online is connected to how far a person lives from the polling station. Although around 70 % of the Estonian lives within an half an hour walk radius of a polling station, they prefer to vote electronically.

During the last local elections, every third voter cast their vote online. That number must be compared to every 50th back in 2005.

Professor Vassil said that once someone has cast an e-vote, he or she is very unlikely to make a trip to the polling station during the next elections.

Professor Solvak pointed out that knowing that their vote can be verified, increase people’s trust in the reliability of the system. Very few people actually verify their vote, but the simple knowledge that it can be done, creates trust.


Source: http://news.err.ee/v/politics/db494b85-f3bf-42b7-882b-c856e6833c6c