While preparations for mobile voting have been made for some time, it will not be possible to vote using a smart device before the 2025 local elections.
Minister of Economic Affairs Tiit Riisalo (Eesti 200) said that while the technical aspects of preparations have gotten to a point where mobile voting could be utilized in the spring of 2024, the legal side of things requires more time.
Riisalo said that the Supreme Court has asked the legislature for a more detailed description of e-voting, with so-called m-voting being one discipline therein. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Justice have legal clarity in terms of the changes needed, but the pace of legislative drafting cannot keep up, the minister remarked.
Arne Koitmäe, head of the National Electoral Service, said that mobile devices can probably be used to vote by the time of local elections in 2025.
"It is clear that we will not complete m-voting by the time of the next elections [European Parliament elections] and will be using the current system," Koitmäe said.
It is tradition in Estonia to pass legislation governing elections at least six months before they take place. European Parliament elections are scheduled for June 9 next year. But the m-voting bill is only in its first reading in the Riigikogu, and Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) could not say when it might be passed.
"It depends on what is happening in the parliament, which is very difficult to predict," the minister said, adding that the first reading could be a sign of things to come.
The bill is not believed to pass through parliament unchallenged. Opposition EKRE MP, deputy chair of the Riigikogu Constitutional Committee Jaak Valge said that e-voting is more problematic than what a single law can fix.
"The only option is to radically improve [e-voting] and make it trustworthy; only then could electronic voting be used again. Adding m-voting to the mix in the current situation would only make matters worse," Valge said.
Editor: Merili Nael, Marcus Turovski