Election monitors from Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Latvia and Slovakia noted only stray examples of misconduct during March 6th Election Day. The monitors were invited by Open Estonia Foundation.
According to Kadri Ollino, supervisor of the election monitoring program at OEF, the monitors were impressed by Estonia’s e-voting system, which allows citizens to cast their vote online during the week-long pre-election period held from February 24th – Independence Day – until March 3rd.
Foreign observes noted that opaque funding for campaigns remains an issue in Estonia as well as in their home country. In addition, foreign observers noted many minute details that are perhaps less noticeable for officials here, such as various procedural rules or double-checking documents. These cases were generally very rare and certainly not malicious.
Estonian monitors unanimously agreed that local elections usually have a higher danger of possible electoral fraud than parliamentary elections, which also explains the relatively low number of Estonian monitors.
Meanwhile, e-voting has fallen under criticism as Estonian Television’s flagship investigative journalism program Pealtnägija (Eyewitness) ran a story last Wednesday demonstrating how a simple computer virus can block votes for certain parties from being relayed to polling stations. The virus was written by a history student at the University of Tartu who has filed an official complaint to the Electoral Committee, demanding that all online votes be declared null and void.
IT-experts from both the Electoral Committee and from independent companies agreed that in practice, the probability of such an attack being committed on a non-trivial scale are very low.