Advance voting up on last general election, e-voting sets record

Voting on election day is in-person only, in a voter's registered home district.
Voting on election day is in-person only, in a voter's registered home district. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Close to 350,000 voters took the opportunity of casting an advance vote for the 3 March general election, representing close to 40% of the electorate, the electoral office has announced. A record number of e-votes were cast during the advance voting period, and advance voting in general saw a larger turnout than for the last general election in 2015.

Advance voting began on Thursday, 21 February and could be conducted either as e-voting or at a polling station, and ended on Wednesday evening (at 18.00 EET in the case of e-voting).

No more voting can now take place until election day on Sunday, 3 March.

According to the electoral office, the precise number of participants in advance e-voting was 274,232, and at polling stations, the figure was 99,163, giving a total of 346,395, or 39.3% of the electorate. At the 2015 general election, the overall figure was 33%.

The number of e-votes represented a significant rise on the figure for the municipal elections in 2017, where just over 186,000 e-votes were cast.

Voting at electoral centres took place in two phases, first at polling stations in Estonia's county towns, then from Monday, at any of Estonia's 451 polling stations nationwide.

These advance votes could be carried out at polling stations away from the voter's registered place of residence. Ballot papers are then sent in sealed envelopes to the voter's registered district for counting on election day.

Those who cast their e-vote, which involves ID verification online, had the option to go back and vote again, superseding their previous vote.

Advance votes at polling stations are set in stone, however.

On election day itself, votes can only be cast at a person's registered electoral district, ie. where the voter is registered as living. There are 12 voting districts.

Polls on election day on Sunday open at 09.00 and close at 20.00. Voting from home is possible by prior arrangement, usually where health issue necessitate it. No e-voting takes place on election day.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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