As the Reform Party usually has a lot of supporters among those who vote digitally, the harassment scandal around former prime minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) will have little effect on his election result, as e-voting closed the day before the scandal broke.
Editor-in-chief of ERR’s online news, Urmet Kook, pointed out on Vikerraadio’s Rahva teenrid political talk show on Saturday that as a physical vote on election day doesn’t overrule an e-vote given during advance voting, it is too late for all those of Rõivas’s initial supporters to change their mind.
That’s why Kook thinks the scandal will have very little effect on the number of personal votes Rõivas will get.
Kook also pointed out that there had been quite a bit of confusion about the e-vote since the news broke on Thursday that Rõivas had made unwanted advances to a woman at an after-work party of a trade delegation to Malaysia in late September.
Although the regulation dates back to 2005 that a physical vote on election day doesn’t overrule an earlier electronic vote, a lot of people were surprised that they couldn’t change their mind anymore after e-voting closed at the end of the advance voting period.
“Traditionally the Reform Party skims a large part of the electronic vote. A lot of people who wanted to give their vote to Rõivas before the scandal likely did so during e-voting, and that can’t be changed anymore by voting on paper later on,” Kook said.
Editor and presenter Taavi Eilat said that he had heard from plenty of people that they had made their choice during the advance voting period, but now wouldn’t vote for the same candidate anymore.
Neeme Korv of daily Postimees listed Rõivas’s results in previous elections, saying that he got 1,405 personal votes in the last local elections in 2013, and a personal record number of 2,747 in the 2009 local elections. In the last national election in 2015, Rõivas got some 16,000 votes.
Talking about turnout and changes to results still to be expected, Kook estimated that more than half of the people who intended to vote in this year’s elections had already done so.
Eilat pointed out that there had been a record number of electronic votes despite the occurrence of a potential security risk. Estonians had obviously moved on to being e-voters and were used to this procedure, as what happened hadn’t deterred them.
This was backed up by the fact that there had been some 11,000 fewer votes cast at polling stations in this election than in the preceding one, Kook added.
That some parties are demanding that the e-voting period should be shortened in coming elections was difficult to understand, all three agreed. Trying to turn back time at a point where the digital vote has become this popular would be a bad idea—if a change is necessary, it’s letting voters vote online also on election day.
Editor: Dario Cavegn