Gräzin e-vote cancellation bid rebuffed by Electoral Committee

Priit Vinkel of the Electoral Committee.
Priit Vinkel of the Electoral Committee. Source: ERR

The Electoral Committee (VVK) has overruled a complaint from Igor Gräzin (Centre). Gräzin, who formerly sat as an MEP for the Reform Party, ran for Centre at the current election, and argued that the e-vote should be cancelled, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

Gräzin's complaint centred around a technical glitch concerning candidate data on the electoral website, which lasted for about 12 hours, and meant that candidate searches did not yield a result on names which included punctuation marks. Whether this was because Gräzin's name contains, not punctuation, but the Estonian letter "ä" and that this had meant his name did not come up in searches, was not reported. If that were the case, then several other candidates would have been in the same boat, including Taavi Rõivas (Reform), Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits (Isamaa) and Monika Haukanõmm (SDE).

Head of Election Services at the VVK Priit Vinkel told ERR's Vikerraadio that after discussing the issue, no valid cause for discarding the e-vote was found.

Elections often meet complaints – after the March general election over a dozen complaints needed to be dealt with before the Riigikogu could assemble, and the formation of a coalition government could take place.

Two additional complaints from Virgo Kruve, seemingly a serial complainer having done same ahead of the March general election, were also overruled, Vinkel said.

The e-vote runs from May 16-22, 24 hours per day, giving a total of 141 hours where the glitch was not present. Furthermore, voters could overrule their e-vote as many times as they wished, during the advance voting period, or once, at a polling station (though not on election day).

Another question put to Priit Vinkel was why Estonia has to delay until after midnight to publish its results, having waited till the last E.U. member state (Italy) closes its polls, whereas neighboring Latvia does not, and has in fact already announced preliminary results.

Vinkel said that this was part of the provisions of the Estonian Election Act 2002, and that given the lengthy voting period open to citizens, exit polls would not be of any benefit.

After a 37.3 percent turnout, the European election results are due to be announced some time after midnight Sunday, with a vote recount taking place Monday as per regulations.

A total of 155,521 cast their vote online at the current election, or 25.4 percent of voters, making it the most popular method of voting. Traditionally, Centre has done poorly in the e-vote compared with the paper vote, though a predicted ballot box rally for the party at the March general election failed to materialize.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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