Over 30,000 general election advance votes cast by Thursday evening
Over 32,000 votes had been cast last night in advanced polling for the 3 March general election.
As of 20.00 EET, 27,718 votes had been cast electronically (e-voting) and 4,633 in person, at county polling stations, according to the electoral commission.
Advance voting runs until the end of Wednesday, 27 February, either via e-voting throughout that period, or in person, at county centres until 20.00 on Sunday, 24 February, thereafter in any of the district voting centres (Estonia has 12 electoral districts), with the same deadline as applies to e-voting.
Polls are then closed until election day itself, where again both voting in person, including a facility for those at home unable to get to a polling station or online, and e-voting arereopened.
2,380 votes were cast at polling stations in Tallinn, and 1,046 in Tartu, the electoral commission says, with the busiest polling stations located at the Solaris shopping mall in central Tallinn, and the Lasnamäe shopping centre in the east of the city.
The figures show a slight fall on the last general election in 2015, when close to 30,000 e-votes and over 5,000 votes in person, had been cast at the same stage in proceedings.
Various options for voting
Advance voting allows voters to pick their candidate at a centre away from their place of residence, though their votes will be sent to the electoral district they are registered in, for counting.
The system takes account of the fact that people living in remote areas, or working in a different part of the country from their registered residence, may not be able to reach their ''home'' polling station in time to vote. Naturally, e-voting reduces the need for this, as it can be conducted anywhere.
The bulk of those Estonian citizens resident overseas are likely to engage in e-voting as well, although polling stations were opened in some Estonian foreign missions last weekend, and voting on board ship is even possible (the vessel must be flying the Estonian flag, amongst other pre-conditions).
On election day, 3 March, a voter can vote only at the polling station where they are registered living.
Advanced e-voting is not set in stone; those who have already cast their votes via e-voting can go back and change them multiple times, up until the 27 February deadline. Votes cast on 3 March are only in person, either at polling stations, or at home. The latter can be done via application, with the deadline 14.00 on election day itself, and applies to those who cannot get to a polling station due to health reasons or other relevant factors.
Elections to the European Parliament take place in late May, and make use of most of the same voting methods.
More information is at the electoral commission site.
Editor: Andrew Whyte