ESTONIA - Online Voting for European Parliament

Arno Froese

Estonia was crippled by cyberattacks on government networks during a dispute with Russia in 2007. Today the tiny tech-savvy nation is so certain of its cyber defenses that it is the only country in the world to allow internet voting for the entire electorate, in every election, and thousands have already done so in the European Parliament elections.

Internet voting—or i-voting—has been available since 2005 in the nation that gave the world Skype, and the percentage of voters using the internet to cast ballots has increased with each election, reaching 44% of voters in national election in March.

Linda Lainvoo was one of the first Estonians to vote in the European Parliament election, which she did from a cafe before heading to work. The 32-year-old civil servant has voted online since she was first eligible to vote.

“I couldn’t imagine my life any different,” Lainvoo said after logging into a secure online portal with her ID card and a PIN code. “I do everything online so I don’t have to stand in queues and do things on paper.”

Estonia, which borders Russia, took time to build security and privacy into its model. It created a platform that supports electronic authentication and digital signatures to enable paperless communications, in contrast with failed efforts by private companies to provide secure online voting systems in the United States, for example.

Transparency and security have been built into the system by allowing people to verify that their vote has been tallied correctly, while a third-party system creates logs that are compared to the results of the ballot boxes and which would reveal any discrepancies.

“Trust is the paramount factor in making sure that Internet-based voting actually takes place,” said Tonu Tammer from the government agency in charge of the security of Estonia’s computer networks., 20 May 2019

Arno's commentary

This small country with only 1.3 million in population, a former Soviet Union territory, has experienced remarkable growth. The CIA Factbook reports the GDP growth rate was 1.7% for 2015, 2.1% for 2016, and 4.9% in 2017.

Now, Estonia has become the first nation in the world to securely allow internet voting for its citizens. Needless to say, the advantages are fantastic. After identifying yourself on your electronic device, just a few clicks is all you have to do to vote. That’s good, but it also has a drawback; from that point on, your information is stored indefinitely, and who really knows if and when illegal identities can get access to your data. That means even more security will have to be implemented in the future to have the rest of the world follow Estonia’s lead. 

From Scripture, we know that this process must continue until every person on planet earth is identified electronically. That is yet to come.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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