Nearly 70,000 advance European parliament votes cast so far
Close to 70,000 voters had cast their ballot ahead of the European Parliament on Saturday evening, part of the so-called advance voting period ahead of the May 26 election day.
The precise tally, 69,232, was reached as at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, BNS reports, with 12,756 being cast at polling stations, and 56,476 online.
Online votes, which in practice make up the bulk of advance votes, can, however, be superseded multiple times, and once, by presenting in person at a polling station ahead of the May 26 election. However, advance votes cannot be superseded on election day itself.
Advance voting in person at county centres in each of Estonia's 15 counties (with multiple centres in the case of more populous counties, such as Harju County) runs until 8:00 p.m. on Sunday. Monday sees the opening of all 444 polling stations ahead of the election, and can be done away from a voter's registered place of residence – part of the rationale in introducing advance voting in the first place, allowing those who worked during the week at a location away from their home, as well as voters in more remote areas, more scope in voting.
This runs until May 22, as does online voting, which ends at 6:00 p.m. on the same day.
May 23-25 are "dark days", where no voting takes place.
On election day, voters can only vote in their "home" district.
Other options include voting at foreign missions or on ships flying the Estonian flag, in the advance voting period, or voting from home on the day (by prior arrangement), for those unable to reach a polling station or get online.
- At the same stage ahead of the last European elections in 2014, just under 45,000 voters had cast a vote online or in person.
- At the same stage ahead of the Riigikogu election of March 3 this year, 96,525 voters had cast their vote, around 83% of them online.
- Close to 7,000 voters presented at polling stations in Tallinn, up to Saturday evening, and a little under half that voted in person at Tartu polling stations.
- Sixty six candidates from nine parties plus several independents are running for Estonia's six MEP spots. Since Estonia is treated as one electoral district, at the European elections, voters can pick any of the candidates running.
- All EU citizens registered as permanent residents in Estonia are eligible to vote in the same way that Estonian citizens can.
For more information, visit the electoral committee's site here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte