Thursday marked the first day of early and online voting in the 2017 local government council elections in Estonia, the first elections in which youth aged 16 and 17 are eligible to vote as well. President Kersti Kaljulaid marked the occasion by teaching a civic education class and voting online at Jüri High School.
"For the first time, 16-year-olds can access the ballot box — in reality more likely the e-voting homepage," Kaljulaid said according to a press release. "For the first time, this century's youth will be voting. As of today, there are ten days left until Election Day. This is exactly enough time to still consider and discuss with friends and debate in class what it is that you want to change there where you live, and consider who are the politicians who want to think for you and who are the ones who will let you think for yourselves and make these thoughts happen."
Early and online voting began across Estonia on Thursday, and for the first time this year, local government council elections are open to 16- and 17-year-olds as well. Rae Municipality, where Jüri High School is located, is home to nearly 300 such youth.
On Sept. 25, Kaljulaid posted on social media encouraging eligible youth to participate in the local elections as well as share their thoughts on what could be changed and improved where they live. Those sharing their thoughts are encouraged to use the hashtag #nooredvalima ('Youth to vote').
Kaljulaid is scheduled to teach another civic education class at Tallinn's Mustamäe High School of Humanities on Friday.
Editor: Aili Vahtla