Estonia sets new e-voting record at Riigikogu 2023 elections

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Online voting in the 2023 Riigikogu elections on Saturday evening. March 4, 2023.
Online voting in the 2023 Riigikogu elections on Saturday evening. March 4, 2023. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

Over 313,000 people voted online in the Riigikogu elections this year, setting a new record. This is the first time more than 50 percent of ballots have been e-votes.

During the advance voting period, which started on Monday and closed at 8 p.m. on Saturday, 456,856 Estonians submitted their ballots either online or on paper.

E-voting only takes place during advance voting.

New records were set for online and paper voting, data from the Election Commission shows.

In total, 313,510 citizens voted electronically, smashing the last record set at the previous Riigikogu election in 2019 when 247,232 e-votes were given.

It also surpassed the online vote at the local election in 2021 when 263,566 people cast a digital ballot. Residents can also vote in local elections, unlike in national elections which are restricted to citizens only, so the pool of potential voters is different.

Additionally, 143,346 paper votes were also cast in polling stations this year. This breaks the previous record — 141,243 — set in 2007.

Unsurprisingly, the highest number of voters were seen in Tallinn (96,936), the City of Tartu (24,806), and Harju County (51,955), which are Estonia's most populous areas.

The number of e-votes was almost double the number of paper votes cast in Tallinn and Tartu.

But the highest e-vote shares were in Harju County, Tartu County and Hiiu County.

Voters from abroad also preferred to vote online, with 7,268 e-votes to 1,886 paper votes cast during advance voting.

Update: Over 1,000 e-votes annulled

An estimated 1,329 voters annulled their e-vote at the 2023 Riigikogu elections by casting a paper ballot, data showed on Sunday

Oliver Kask, chair of the State Electoral Committee, told ETV election broadcast "Valimiste õhtu" on Sunday: "The figure for those who have cast both an e-vote and a paper vote stands at 1,329 so far as I am aware. Regardless of which was cast first, the paper vote remains the definitive one."

After the polls closed on Sunday, there was a total of 313,514 e-votes and 301,495 paper votes.

Just over 51 percent were cast online, with is the first time more than half of votes have been given digitally.

Results for each party

Liberal parties such as Reform, Eesti 200 and Parempoolsed received the majority of digital ballots.

The e-vote share was above 60 percent for Reform and Eesti 200, over 50 percent for Parempoolsed, SDE and the Greens, and just under 50 percent for Isamaa.

However, EKRE's was below 30 percent and Center's just over.

EKRE's result is not surprising as the party is vocally skeptical about online voting and encourages its supporters to vote at polling stations.

Editor's note: This article was updated to add information about annulled e-votes on March 5 and on March 6 to add the results for each party.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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