Doris Põld: M-voting sure to boost turnout

Doris Põld.
Doris Põld. Source: ITL

Making elections mobile gives our citizens another way in which to participate in democratic processes, Doris Põld writes.

Minister of Economic Affairs and IT Tiit Riisalo (Eesti 200) recently shed light on plans to make voting using a mobile smart device available by the time of European Parliament elections in 2024.

Amending elections and electronic voting legislation are crucial steps, and enabling m-voting needs to be a core aspect therein. Our citizens have a unique experience in e-voting, which is why it is only natural for us to continue developing the system and offer the world's first m-elections.

The Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications has always been in favor of m-voting. This summer, we sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice in support of making e-voting regulation more specific in the interests of legal clarity.

Ensuring the transparency and credibility of electronic voting as a public service is crucial as it forms a part of our digital state infrastructure. Among other things, we proposed ensuring technological neutrality for methods of identification used in the voting process (allowing the use of other authentication and digital signing systems of equal security, Smart-ID in addition to Mobile-ID).

Citizens used to digital comforts were delivered an unpleasant surprise on the eve of parliamentary elections in March when they discovered they cannot cast their vote using their mobile device. Some had to take their computer with them on holiday just to be able to vote, while others for whom the discovery came too late may have failed to vote altogether. This suggests expectations for digital services remain high. Adding m-voting is sure to boost total turnout as smart devices are where our citizens are the most active.

We have a ready technological solution we could adopt in time for the 2024 European Parliament elections. Therefore, there are no technical obstacles, we simply need agreements that would make it possible for us to trust third parties in taking the application to the people.

Should Estonia make this matter a priority, we are confident we can cast our vote also using a mobile platform in time for the next elections. This would help Estonia's digital state reputation (no other country in the world uses mobile platforms at elections) and our continued innovation success story. What is paramount, going mobile with elections would give our citizens another way to participate in democratic processes.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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