Prime minister among over 203,000 to have voted as of Wednesday evening
A total of 203,554 people had voted in the 2023 Riigikogu elections advance voting period as of late Wednesday evening, one of whom was the prime minister.
Advance voting opened on Monday, providing several days in which an e-vote can be cast, while voters who prefer more traditional methods can also cast their ballot in a polling station during the week.
Of Wednesday evening's total, 151,372 were e-votes, and the remaining 52,180 consisted of paper votes at polling stations.
One of those who cast their e-vote Wednesday was the prime minister, and Reform Party leader, Kaja Kallas.
Kallas told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that she has favored voting electronically for many years already, adding that it is vital that every Estonian citizen votes, via the means of their choice.
She said: "At the last election, I went to a polling station, which seemed so weird, as I hadn't done so for years. It's in a sense very uncertain to leave it until the last day to vote, so I certainly wanted to vote the way I usually vote when there are no cameras around – meaning via e-voting."
That said, the cameras were there this time too, as the premier cast her vote via her laptop, at the Literaat bookstore, in Tallinn.
"It is also key to vote in such a way that it is certain that this choice has been made, and I will not miss out in any way," she went on.
Polling day itself is March 5. e-votes can be overridden by the same voter casting a paper ballot on the day. e-voting itself ends at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
e-votes can also be cast and re-cast as often as a voter likes, during the advance voting period, in part in order to avoid voter coercion, or inducement, or influence of any other kind while at a laptop, desktop or phone.
Naturally e-votes can be cast at any time during the advance voting period and in any location; all that is required is a secure internet link in which to download the app and verify ID (though a voter still selects from candidates running in their registered district). For this reason, it is also a popular means of voting among expatriate Estonians (who would otherwise have to cast a vote at a foreign mission, or apply to cast a postal vote, if they could not travel to Estonia for the elections).
Other options for domestic voters include having a ballot paper brought to a place of residence in the case of those who are unable to attend a polling station, for instance due to illness or infirmity.
Polling stations reopen at 12.00 p.m. today, Thursday, in selected districts, while Friday and Saturday, all polling stations will be open, again from noon until 8 p.m. On polling day, only polling stations are open (ie. e-voting is over), from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera