Estonia: The world’s longest standing, most advanced internet voting solution

Since the introduction of i-Voting in 2005 its use has steadily increased, preferred by 53% of voters in 2023

The Estonian i-voting solution is the longest-standing, most technologically advanced, and trusted internet voting solution in existence. It has been used to support binding elections since 2005. Since 2014, Smartmatic has collaborated in the development of this solution.

Online voting is one of several channels offered to Estonian voters. They can also vote by mail and traditional pen-and-paper voting at polling places.

The i-voting solution was developed to provide an additional voting channel that is accessible, convenient, and secure.

The growing popularity of online voting

Since i-voting was first introduced in Estonia, online participation has risen continuously.

The 2023 Estonian Parliament elections marked a new milestone: 51% of Estonian voters chose to vote online. This new record reaffirms the acceptance of Estonians of this convenient voting method.

Promoting democratic participation

Online voting is a perfect solution for voters demanding a more convenient way to participate. Evidence links the use of online voting to increased turnout rates: 5% in national elections and 1.5% in local elections.

Breaking Down Borders

Online voting has revolutionized democratic participation for Estonians, both in the country and overseas. Since its initial implementation, the system has simplified voting for Estonian citizens residing in over 140 countries. This underscores the empowering potential online voting can have for those living abroad.

Multichannel Voting for Enhanced Democratic Participation

Estonian authorities offer voters multiple channels to participate in elections. All voters have the option to head to a polling station to cast a ballot using pen and paper, or to cast a ballot in advance.

All Estonia citizens who use the i-vote solution can vote multiple times but only the last vote is sent to the tabulation and ultimately counted. Any vote in person prevails over any online vote by that same person. The objective of this strategy is to mitigate coercion. If a voter is forced to vote in a certain way, the voter can change their vote in another session.

Smartmatic in Estonia

In 2014, Smartmatic partnered with Cybernetica to establish the Centre of Excellence for Internet Voting (SCCEIV) in Estonia. The Cybernetica IT lab built the first internet voting solution used in Estonia 2005. SCCEIV comprises a multidisciplinary group of election experts that work to advance online voting.

Since the SCEEIV was established, it has delivered its technology and services for use in four national elections: 2015 Parliamentary, 2017 Local Councils, 2019 Parliamentary, 2019 European Union, 2021 Local Councils, and 2023 Estonian Parliament.