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Online voting most popular among Estonians aged 25-34

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

E-voting was most popular among Estonians in the 25-34 age group, data from the latest Riigikogu election shows. Almost 65 percent of voters in this category cast a digital ballot.

At least 55 percent of voters in the categories between 18-54 years old chose to vote online during advance voting earlier this month, data from the State Electoral Office (RVT) shows.

The age group with the lowest digital turnout was the over 75s, where it dropped to 32.8 percent.

On average, 50.9 percent of all voters cast an e-vote which was a new record.

Liia Hänni, a senior e-democracy expert at the e-Governance Academy, said one interesting thing is that the youngest age group — 18-24 — cast fewer online votes than voters in the 25-34 category.

"I would suggest that first-time voters would prefer to have a traditional voting experience. The second option is that young people are not yet very avid users of digital identity. They may have lost their PIN codes or not have set up their mobile ID, they may also use Smart-ID, which unfortunately cannot be used for online voting," said Hänni.

That young people prefer to vote at polling stations is also a trend at the local elections, where anyone over the age of 16 can participate.

She highlighted the online voting rate for the over 75s and said: "So this talk about old people not being able and not wanting doesn't hold true."

Hänni said it does not matter whether people vote online or on paper, the most important thing is that they have a choice. The government does not need to push people to vote online she said.

"But the fact of the matter is that voting online is in some ways a convenience option, especially for people who have to go somewhere far away to vote," said Hänni.

Liia Hänni. Source: Ülo Josing/ERR

The expert also highlighted that female candidates get more e-votes than male candidates.

"The average number of e-votes for a female candidate is 377, which is significantly higher than the number of votes for a male candidate 296," she told ERR.

The number of e-voters is sure to continue, Hänni said.

"Studies, which have also been carried out on the behavior of e-voters, have shown that e-voting sticks with people. Those who have done well with e-voting are more likely to vote online next time," she said.

The last election took place on March 5. The majority of e-votes were cast for more liberal parties.

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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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