Supreme court dismisses EKRE MP's presidential election complaint

Electoral committee.
Electoral committee. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Supreme Court dismissed a complaint on Wednesday related to voting in a car during the presidential election on August 31.

The complaint was submitted by EKRE Riigikogu member Kalle Grünthal during the second round of voting after MP Marika Tuus-Laul (Center) voted from a car outside the Riigikogu.

Grünthal was in the courtyard of the Riigikogu while Tuus-Laul voted and filmed the situation from a distance. He lodged a protest with the electoral committee, stating that the secrecy of the vote had not been guaranteed.

According to the complainant, the chairman of the electoral committee did not turn his back on the car while Tuus-Laul was writing on the ballot paper, but watched the vote from a few meters away.

Grünthal also pointed out that, according to the law, voting must take place in a voting booth, which cannot be considered to be a car.

On the day, the Electoral Committee rejected Grünthal's complaint, but he appealed to the Supreme Court, challenging not only the voting procedure but also the determination of the result.

While watching a video of the vote counting, the MP said he noticed two ballot papers had a "tick" in the box, not a cross, as required by law.

The Riigikogu elected director of the Estonian National Museum Alar Karis as president with 72 votes. He needed 68 to be elected and Riigikogu members voted by secret ballot.

Presidential election will not be annulled

In its decision published on Wednesday, the constitutional review chamber of the Supreme Court found the complaint concerning the violation of the voting procedure not justified and rejected it.

The court noted the voting booth helps to ensure compliance with the requirement of election secrecy, but the law does not specify the specific conditions that the booth must meet. Decisions are left primarily to the electoral committee.

The Electoral Committee must balance conflicting interests because in addition to the secrecy requirement, the voter must also be guaranteed the opportunity to participate in voting.

The Supreme Court said voting in a car was not in conflict with the law or the Constitution, as secrecy was sufficiently guaranteed. The video recording shows that the election organizers were far enough away from the car and positioned so as not to see if and what the voter wrote on the ballot paper.

In addition, the alleged violation of the voting procedure would not have affected the election result, as even without the vote in the car, the candidate would have received sufficient support.

On the issue of determining the result of the vote (cross or tick), the Supreme Court dismissed Grünthal's appeal because he should have submitted a protest to the electoral committee before going to court.

By the time the complaint was sent to the Supreme Court, the deadline had passed.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright

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