Martin Helme: We are protecting constitutional order in Estonia

Martin Helme (EKRE).
Martin Helme (EKRE). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

If EKRE is shown that e-votes have been delivered and counted impeccably, we must submit to the will of the people and move on, while we do not have that certainty today, EKRE leader Martin Helme said on the "Esimene stuudio" talk show.

Helme said that his Conservative People's Party (EKRE) has challenged the e-vote in the Supreme Court not out of disappointment with the election result but to make sure the results have not been manipulated and the process of e-voting is verifiable.

"If I'm shown that these votes were cast and counted as such, without errors, I will admit it is the will of the people. We will analyze our mistakes, move on and put in a better result next time. But we cannot say today that we know what the will of the people is. Half of people who voted did so in a way that cannot really be verified, read or identified," Helme said.

The EKRE chairman said that turning to the Supreme Court in this manner is universally beneficial as it serves the purpose of making sure elections are fair in Estonia.

"What everyone agrees with, irrespective of their political preference, is that Estonia needs to have fair, transparent, verifiable, democratic elections that are in accordance with our Constitution. In other words, we are protecting the constitutional order in Estonia. We want the Supreme Court to help us and the Estonian public, and force the State Electoral Office to show us how the votes were counted," he said.

Helme said that EKRE does not believe the voting system could have been hacked from outside Estonia, adding that the problem lies with the e-voting regulation, which he described as lacking.

"Existing e-voting regulation on the level of legislation is nowhere near enough. Everything has been described in detail regarding paber ballots."

Helme said that the party has not received data it requested from the State Electoral Office, suggesting that whether the election result is valid is merely a matter of faith at this time.

"Our problem is that there is no data which could be used to convince us or the public. If that data is presented, these [claims] can be overturned and people assured that we have a functional system and they shouldn't worry. /.../ You may believe in e-voting, while I don't – however, it is not a matter of what we believe, it needs to be countable, verifiable. Even the law states that election results must be subject to public control."

Martin Helme said that EKRE want the e-vote repealed after which relevant institutions can decide what will happen next: whether only paper ballots will be counted or whether a new election is in order. "Should there be new elections, they will not include e-voting in recent form," he added.

The Conservative People's Party turned to the Supreme Court to have the result of Estonia's Riigikogu elections e-voting repealed. EKRE consider the process of verifying the electronic votes to be unlawful, pointing to several anomalies and technical glitches which call into question the reliability and credibility of e-voting.

The party regards it as problematic that the e-voting system does not ensure compliance with general election principles and the Riigikogu Elections Act does not specify rules for electronic voting and result verification.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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