Internet Voting in Estonia: From Constitutional Debate to Evaluation of Experience over Six Elections
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Remote Internet voting has been allowed in Estonia since 2005 in all types of public elections. The share of online voters has risen to 20–25 %. According to surveys, Internet voting slightly increases general voter turnout, contrary to common expectations does not favor well-educated young urban population and is politically neutral. Significant factors predicting the use of Internet as a voting channel are computer skills and trust. The constitutionality of online voting and of postal voting lends itself to similar analysis with the exception of Internet as a channel. We argue that Internet voting is constitutional, if reliable remote authentication, electronic voter roll, and control mechanisms preventing from any kind of manipulation are in place: the I-votes must be cast as intended, stored as cast, and counted as recorded. In an advanced information society, online voting could be even seen as a required means of guaranteeing universal suffrage and voting equality. On the other hand, the impact of remote e-services on human psychology and behavior needs further research. The results of such scholarly work might lead to new arguments in legal analysis as well.
KeywordsVoter Turnout Vote Decision Vote Method Electronic Vote Universal Suffrage
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