Who can vote? ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonia's subdivisions after the 2016/2017 administrative reform.
Estonia's subdivisions after the 2016/2017 administrative reform. Source: (Tagne Orav/ERR)

Estonian citizens, EU member state citizens, and third-country citizens with a permanent residence permit are all entitled to vote in Estonia’s local elections—if they meet the following requirements.

Citizens of an EU member state can vote if:

  • They are at least 16 years old
  • They are a registered resident of a city district (linnaosa) or municipality (vald)
  • They are not currently serving a prison sentence
  • They have not been divested of their active legal capacity with regard to the right to vote

If your country is a member of the EU, you are entitled to vote in local elections in Estonia no matter how long you have been here. You can also stand for election.

Third-country citizens with a permanent residence permit can vote if:

  • They are at least 16 years old
  • They are a registered resident of a city district (linnaosa) or municipality (vald)
  • They have been a resident of Estonia for at least five years
  • They have successfully applied for permanent right of residence
  • They are not currently serving a prison sentence
  • They have not been divested of their active legal capacity with regard to the right to vote

Third-country citizens who have been registered residents of Estonia for at least five years and who have the permanent right of residence can vote in local elections.

This group includes citizens of countries associated with the EU and otherwise treated as EU citizens by the Estonian state, e.g. Norway and Switzerland.

This group also includes Estonia’s stateless residents who hold Alien’s Passports (so-called grey passports).

Third-country citizens cannot stand for election.

Estonian citizens also need to be registered

Only registered residents of Estonia’s municipalities and city districts can vote in local elections. This means that if you have an Estonian passport, but are not registered here in Estonia, you can’t take part in the election.

Anyone who is registered and meets the requirements as described above is sent a polling card (valijakaart) by the Ministry of the Interior either via email or regular mail.

This polling card confirms that you are entitled to vote. You don’t need to take it with you to the polling station (valimisjaoskond). What you do need is your Estonian ID card, driver’s license, or Estonian passport with your personal identification code.

If you haven't received your polling card by the 15th day before the election, the Electoral Committee asks you to complain to your local administration (city district or municipality). Which you should do, as not having a card means you might not be on the list of registered voters.

Read more about Where and when to vote.

Editor: Dario Cavegn



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