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Underlying principles of the i-voting system in Estonia

The platform was created taking into account many of the specific aspects of elections in Estonia. That’s been one of the keys to it success.

The following are some of the most important principles that have contributed to the only successful nationwide i-voting system in the world:

Optional i-voting

Casting an electronic vote remotely is optional for all Estonian citizens -the entire election system is based on a paper system. I-voting is just an additional method to enfranchise citizens and it is not conceived as a substitute for traditional polling station voting.

Early voting

Internet voting is one of the three options Estonians have to cast a ballot in advance. Voters can also cast their ballots by post prior to election day and also at designated polling stations. However, the fact that 33% of electors opted to cast their ballot online in the early voting period has resulted in a reduced requirement for postal votes.

Multiple voting

Voters can cast i-votes as many times as they wish. As each vote is digitally signed and electronically time stamped, only the finally cast vote is counted. Voters also have the right in person at the polling station on election day, which nullifies any previously cast i-vote.

Paper dominance

A vote cast in the polling station will always supersede any online vote. So, any i-vote bought or sold can easily be invalidated on election day by casting a manual vote, which defeats the purpose of vote buying/selling.

Harsh penalties to fraudsters

Any voter caught selling their vote is heavily penalized.