Internet voting in Estonia 2005–2019: Evidence from eleven elections


Work data:

ISSN: 0740-624X

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Democracy | e-Government & e-Administration


e-voting, internet voting


Internet voting is a highly contested topic in electoral studies. This article examines Internet voting in Estonia over 15 years and 11 nation-wide elections. It focuses on the following questions: How is Internet voting organized and used in Estonia? How have the Estonian Internet voting system and its usage evolved over time? What are the preconditions and consequences of large-scale deployment of Internet voting? The results suggest that the rapid uptake and burgeoning usage rates reflect the system's embeddedness in a highly developed digital state and society. Through continuous technological and legal innovation and development, Estonia has built an advanced Internet voting system that complies with normative standards for democratic elections and is widely trusted and used by the voters. Internet voting has not boosted turnout in a setting where voting was already easily accessible. Neither has it created digital divides: Internet voting in Estonia has diffused to the extent that socio-demographic characteristics no longer predict usage. This, combined with massive uptake, reduces incentives for political parties to politicize the novel voting mode.