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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Estonia

Estonia

5. Participation

5.9 E-participation

The most important e-participation tool in Estonia is e-voting. As of 2019, Estonia has held 11 elections over ten years, where people could cast legally binding votes over the internet i.e. e-vote. The share of people using e-voting has increased over the elections: the share of e-voters in the first e-enabled elections in 2005 was 1.9%, in European Parliament elections in 2019 46.7% of votes were cast online. During the last two elections in 2019, the percentage of e-voters has increased significantly.

For the last four consecutive elections, 2015 national, 2017 local, 2019 national and, 2019 European Parliament elections, e-voting is mostly used by middle-aged people, between 35–45 years old. The share of the youngest voting-eligible age segment, people between 16 to 24 years old is very small i.e. e-voters comprise a clearly smaller share out of voters within the 16–24 age group than they do among the 35–45 age group. The distribution of age among active e-voters mirrors the finding that voting online in Estonia is not the most popular option among the youngest and presumably most tech-savvy citizens.

The 16 and 17-years–old young people had the first possibility to vote at local elections that took place in October 2017. The percentage of e-voters from all voters at the age-group was 0.9%. There were 1,794 young people who gave their vote via e-voting, which is 7.4% of all the young people aged 16-17 and 0.6% of all young people in Estonia aged 7-26.

There are several e-services and online opportunities created to express opinions, however, these are open to the general public, not only to young people. On the local level, there have been initiatives of online participation such as inclusive budgeting, however, these are not youth-specific.