Election Universe

Lithuanian Parliament to discuss i-voting for 2016

Lithuanian Parliament to discuss i-voting for 2016
February 17 2015, 21:10

This February, Lithuania is not only celebrating the 97th anniversary of its independence from the Russian Federation and, the 25th anniversary of its State formal reestablishment from the Soviet Union in 1990. It is also rejoicing in the fact that as early as 2016, i-voting could be a reality for its voters.

Recently, two ministers of the social-democratic cabinet: Justice Minister Juozas Bernatonis and Transport and Communications Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius put forward an initiative to introduce online voting. The legislative amendments to enable casting votes via the Internet were approved in February by the Lithuanian government and will be discussed by members of the parliament in the spring.

The proposal includes Presidential, Parliamentary, Local, and European Parliament elections, as well as referenda. According to Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, a supporter of the iniative, “such form of voting is very relevant for people of younger age; furthermore, online voting would be a far more convenient option for citizens who live outside Lithuania.”

The green light to the discussion was been reported mentioning that a poll carried out for the Justice Ministry showed that 65 percent of the population support online voting in Lithuania, as stated by the BNS news agency.

Webrootsdemocracy a UK blog pro e-voting has also echoed the news, adding that “The system will mirror the Estonian method of online voting and allow the public to vote online multiple times with only the last vote counting.  This acts as a safeguard against voters being pressured into voting for a particular party and acts as a disincentive to vote-buying. The population of Lithuania stands at more than double that of Estonia at almost 3 million people.”

Even ‘Virgin Group’ founder and British billionaire Richard Branson expressed his support and the possible benefits of e-voting for the future of Lithuania, in a blog post last March after visiting the country. “Internet voting has been trialled in several countries so far. Estonia is leading the way. I was speaking to my friend Vladas Lasas, who is running for President in Lithuania, and he pointed out how the tech-savvy youth of his country (and the wider world) are the “sleeping giants” of politics (…) It will be interesting to see if more young people get involved, and more candidates from outside traditional political backgrounds are inclined to run for office.”

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