Saturday, March 5, 2011

From the USSR to Internet Voting

“Just voted with my mobile phone on Estonian elections. That is so awesome. Two minutes and I am done!” a tweet, posted by colleague of mine has become an inspiration for me to once again think of the country which is truly full of surprises. Yeah, the author of the tweet post quoted above, is a girl who is studying in the Netherlands and she has voted straight from Amsterdam through her mobile phone (!).
Sounds a bit unrealistic for most of the countries in the world, but Estonia can always "E'stonish" you by its achievements. 

It is indeed amazing to follow the development of this country after the restoration of independence from the USSR back in 1991. Since then, tiny and beautiful republic has become one of the Baltic Tigers due to the economic boom started in the beginning of the 21st century and logically ended up with the membership of the EU and NATO (Worth mentioning that EU/NATO membership has been the major Foreign Policy goal of the country). One of the major inventions of the ongoing century – Skype, has also been developed in Estonia and all these small high tech miracles logically led to the brand - "e-Stonia." 

Estonia is completely covered with wireless Internet access and it is even possible to travel between cities by trains/busses and keep Wi-Fi Internet access. Above all, much of this access comes virtually free and users do not pay any access charges in most locations.

Because of its high tech population, actually Estonia is the first country in the world (!) wherein the voters casted their votes through internet back in 2005. Around two percent of registered voters participated online in elections across the country and the usage of this voting method is increasing steadily. I won’t go through the details with all the voting methods used in Estonia as you can find more information here, but it is all truly extraordinary for a country, which has spent 40 years in basically non election friendly atmosphere under Soviet Occupation and managed to transform in a way to outdo many western democracies in various fields.

Speaking of the ongoing parliamentary elections – you can follow the coverage of it via Twitter on ElectionsLive


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