Local election complaints delaying municipal council session start date

Counting votes on election night, October 17 2021.
Counting votes on election night, October 17 2021. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Municipal councils will be able to start work in the second half of this month, after complaints arising from the October 17 local elections have been resolved. One of the half-dozen complaints which have to be processed concerns over two thousand e-votes which were allegedly received after the October 16 deadline for e-voting.

The Supreme Court has six unresolved complaints to process; these must be resolved within seven working days, though, a spokesperson told ERR, these are often processed sooner than that.

Kristi Sobak, spokesperson for the State Electoral Committee (VVK) told ERR that the deadline for submitting complaints themselves has passed, though those who missed the deadline can still appeal to the Supreme Court.

One of the six complaints the Supreme Court is to hear concerns one on the announcement of the nationwide electoral result, which the complainant says was delayed.

The applicant, Heilo Aadla, said in the complaint that following the closure of e-voting on 16 October, a further 2,298 additional votes were received in the following two-and-a-half hours.

If these "additional" votes cannot be identified and struck off, the e-vote, much-vaunted internationally by e-Estonia boosters such as former president Toomas Hendrik Ilves, should be canceled, Aadla argues.

e-voting was open during the advance voting period 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., Monday October 11 to Saturday October 16, meaning its final deadline was 8.00 p.m. on the 16th.

Those casting e-votes could supersede their vote on polling day, October 17, by voting at a polling station.

The deadline for processing this complaint is November 10, ERR reports.

If all the complaints are resolved one way or another by mid-November, the newly-elected municipal councils can start their sessions.

The Local Government Council Election Act holds that a municipality must register its elected members, both in office and in opposition, once all complaints and appeals have been ruled on.

This effectively constitutes the official, final results of the 2021 local government elections.

The municipality's legislative powers enter into effect the day after this announcement is made public, and the elected council must convene for the first time, no later than seven days after that announcement.

The results of the October 17 election as things stand are here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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