Estonians voting at polling stations as election day begins

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Polling station in Laagri early on Sunday morning.
Polling station in Laagri early on Sunday morning. Source: ERR

With 451 polling stations open today Sunday, Estonians have time until 20.00 to vote for their preference among the 1,099 candidates in this election, which has already seen a record e-vote participation. This boosted advance voting turnout, with 39.3% of the electorate having voted already.

The remaining 40.7% can vote today, including voting at home for all those who, for whatever reason, cannot make it to one of the 451 polling stations across the country. They have until 14.00 today to notify their local electoral commission, and someone will stop by and make sure they get to vote as well.

There is a persistent rumour that seems to be going around before every election that a paper vote on election day supersedes an e-vote and also a paper vote cast during the early and e-voting phase. This is not correct. If you voted electronically or early, your vote has already been counted.

E-voting lasted from 21 to 27 February. Together with early voting and voting at Estonia's representations abroad, 346,395 people or 39.3% of all those eligible to vote in this year's general election have already cast their vote.

A much greater number of people has voted electronically in this election. According to the State Electoral Committee, the precise number of participants in advance e-voting was 274,232, compared to just over 186,000 in the 2017 local elections.

As at 16.00 EET, just over 57% of the electorate had voted nationally, it is reported, with Tallinn on its own two percentage points higher than that.

157,305 people had cast their vote in Tallinn by 16.00, compared with 129,700 (or 48.7% of the electorate) four hours earlier at 12.00. At the general election in 2015, somewhat fewer people (44.9% of the electorate) had voted at 12.00, but by 16.00 slightly more had voted (just under 59%). Voter turnout at the 2017 municipal election was smaller on both counts, in Tallinn, with 35.4% casting a vote by 12.00, rising to 45.6% by 16.00.

ERR News is running a live blog in parallel with ERR's Estonian and Russian-language coverage starting 19.55 EET on Sunday, five minutes before the polls close. Different from most other democratic countries, there is no emphasis on exit polls, which makes it unlikely that there will be reliable forecasts before the official results are announced.

Still, ERR News will keep up with developments throughout the evening and the night towards Monday. Final results are expected for Monday morning Estonian local time.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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