Online voting participation reaches 85% during referendum in Norway

United Kingdom, London - June 11, 2018  – Online voting participation reached a staggering 85.5% of all votes cast during a regional referendum held in Norway in May. Nineteen local authorities from Finnmark County organized the referendum to consult citizens whether or not to merge with the neighbouring county of Troms.

Voters of all ages preferred to cast an online ballot using TIVI, the Smartmatic-Cybernetica secure, verifiable online voting solution, with 95% of voters below the age of 60 opting to vote online.  

From May 7th – 14th, citizens had the option to vote online or to vote by traditional paper-based voting at polling stations. Online voters could vote electronically as many times as they wished, with only the final cast electronic vote being counted.

In addition, voters who had voted online had the option to supersede any previously cast online vote with a paper ballot cast in the polling station.

“The overwhelming preference of voters from all age groups to vote online is a clear demonstration that they trust technology and value convenience,” stated Mike Summers, Director of the Smartmatic-Cybernetica Centre for Excellence for Internet Voting (SCCEIV), the technology provider for the referendum.

“In an age where election management bodies are struggling to foster citizen participation with an increasingly mobile and dispersed electorate, it is critical that voters are given secure and accessible alternatives to engage in democracy.”
To facilitate participation and keep voters informed, TIVI was fully integrated with ID-Porten, a common single sign-on service used to access Norwegian public e-services. Automatic SMS based electronic poll cards were sent to remind voters to vote and to inform when their online vote was received. The system also used a permissioned private blockchain as a mechanism to protect and prove ballot box integrity.

Blockchain technology was implemented for the first time in a binding online election in March 2016, when Smartmatic and Cybernetica helped the Utah Republican party to conduct its Presidential Preference Caucus.

Finnmark, the northernmost county in Norway, has a population of about 75,000 living on a territory of 48,000 square kilometers.