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Expert: Shortening early voting period will affect turnout

Mihkel Solvak.
Mihkel Solvak. Source: (ERR)

If the government’s proposal to harmonize early voting, and shortening the time period during which people can vote electronically should pass, this would lower election turnout, scientist at the University of Tartu’s Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies Mihkel Solvak finds.

“The problem is that once enough people have switched from paper ballots to electronic voting, it’s doubtful that the same group will switch back if things are made more complicated again for them,” Solvak told ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” newscast on Thursday.

As the support of different political parties depended on the method of voting as well, the shortened time period would affect the distribution of votes. This, according to Solvak, is a step in the opposite direction compared to what other countries around the world were trying to do.

“Everywhere voting is made easier. More early and distance voting is introduced, they’re experimenting with voting not only on election day, extended early voting periods, postal voting. The decreasing turnout is a systemic problem everywhere in Western democracies,” Solvak said.

The government decided on Thursday to support a proposal by the Center Party, the Social Democrats, and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) to harmonize early voting and shorten the period during which electronic voting is possible.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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