New turnout record set during Estonia's Riigikogu elections

Voting counting in progress in Tallinn.
Voting counting in progress in Tallinn. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

A new turnout record was set during Estonia's 2023 Riigikogu elections with over 615,000 people taking part. This is almost 50,000 more voters than four years ago.

According to the latest data from the National Electoral Committee available at 9 p.m. on Sunday evening, 615,009 Estonians had cast a ballot in the election.

The reason for this increase can likely be explained by a change in turnout methodology.

A new record was also set for online voting. For the first time, more than 50 percent were online votes. In total, 313,514 e-votes were submitted and 301,495 paper votes.

The polls closed at 8 p.m. and votes are currently being counted.

The number of e-votes is likely to fall slightly as people have been known to vote both online and on paper. The paper vote "cancels" the online ballot.

Turnout matches 2019

Total turnout reached 63.7 percent which is the same as in 2019.

Experts believed the new methodology was likely to reduce voter turnout as over 80,000 Estonians living abroad were added to the register. As the vast majority of ex-pats rarely vote, it was assumed turnout would fall.

Data from the Electoral Committee shows turnout rose in almost all counties and the biggest cities.

Turnout also topped 70 percent in Harju, Hiiu, Jõgeva, Rapla and Saare counties, as well as in the city of Tartu.

At the last election, no region or city passed 70 percent turnout.

More than 50 percent of electorate voted online

Data valid at 10 p.m. on Sunday evening shows that 51 percent of voters cast an e-vote. This is a new record.

At the last Riigikogu election in 2019, approximately 44 percent of voters submitted a digital ballot. At the local election in 2021, the figure was 47 percent.

However, an estimated 1,329 voters annulled their e-vote this year by casting a paper ballot, data showed on Sunday evening.

Oliver Kask, chairman of the State Electoral Committee, told ETV election broadcast "Valimiste õhtu": "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.

See the results on the Electoral Committee's website.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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