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Only 7.4 percent of 16, 17-year-olds voted online in local elections

At a polling station.
At a polling station. Source: (Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR)

Though a record number of people voted online in this year’s local elections, the young people the state was trying to include this time apparently did not. Though the voting age was lowered, just 1,794 of 16 and 17-year-olds voted.

In the local elections on Oct. 15 the voting age was 16 for the first time in Estonia’s history. Though there are 24,153 16 and 17-year-olds this year, only some 7.4 percent of them went and voted electronically. There is no data yet of their overall participation, but what can be said is that it seems to have been much lower than expected.

According to Priit Vinkel, director of the state’s election service, the complete picture will be available in about a month, when the election survey of the University of Tartu will be published.

“The university conducted a survey of how people voted, and we’ll be able to get the age groups from there,” Vinkel said, adding that this survey will give them a good idea what the share of younger voters actually was.

Vinkel also said that he wouldn’t want to jump to conclusions just yet. “I saw with my own eyes how many proud first-time voters went to the polling stations, who treated it like a ceremony and as a part of growing up, so to say. I wouldn’t exclude the possibility that a lot of first-time voters deliberately voted at polling stations,” he said.

586,520 Estonians and Estonian residents voted in the election last Sunday, this being a turnout of 53.3 percent. Of those who voted, 186,034 did so online, which is a new record.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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