2019 EP elections: Information for EU citizens intending to vote in Estonia

The flags of Estonia and the EU outside of the Government Office in Tallinn.
The flags of Estonia and the EU outside of the Government Office in Tallinn. Source: Tauno Tõhk/Government Office

Today Wednesday at 10.00 EET the nomination of candidates begins for the European elections on 26 May this year. Citizens of other EU member states can choose between Estonia and their home country: here is how it works.

Leading up to election day, Estonian citizens and residents can vote at foreign missions from 11 to 16 May. Early voting as well as electronic voting will open on 16 May in Estonia.

Estonian citizens residing in Estonia or registered with representations outside Estonia can only vote for Estonian candidates. Citizens of the EU who are registered as residents in Estonia can choose whether to vote here, or in their home country.

Voting is based on place of residence within Estonia

Voting in Estonia is based on the population register. An individual's right to participate in an election is confirmed by the voter's card, which is only sent to people for which the register has an address in its database.

Typically, the voter's cards are sent out via e-mail. Any Estonian resident with an ID code in principle has a corresponding e-mail address registered with the state's online portal, Eesti.ee.

Those eligible to vote in the 2019 European Elections should receive their voter's cards no later than 15 days before election day on 26 May.

EU citizens need to register to vote

According to the State Electoral Office, EU citizens who want to vote in Estonia need to register specially for the European elections. This year they have until 26 April to do so.

Once registered, the issuing of voter's cards in European elections in the future will be automatic. The registration has to happen with the Ministry of the Interior.

Not sure if you are eligible to vote? Ask the population register

There is a procedure in place for virtually every eventuality. For instance, if a voter has recently moved from one district to another, but hasn't made their change of address known to the population register, they will still be able to vote—albeit in their previous district.

If a person is unable to define their place of residence precisely, they can specify only the name of the rural municipality or city district they live in. Every rural municipality or city has one designated voting district where this category of voter can still cast a ballot.

If you are a non-Estonian EU citizen and you are not sure whether or not you are properly registered, you can check with the population register.

Voting in an EU citizen's home country

Across the EU, procedures vary from member state to member state, which means that anyone interested in voting in their home country will have to check with the authorities there how voting works.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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