Here’s proof that Estonians really can vote online from anywhere

We jumped into ice cold water during a sauna session to vote in Estonia’s Parliamentary election. Just because we can.

How Estonians vote online

First, a quick introduction. I’m a UK-born Estonian (hence the accent) and I work at Estonia’s e-Residency programme with Alex and Reelika who are also in this video. As with voting, I wrote this article on my day off though.

  • Digital ID card / Mobile-ID. Estonians have the same digital identity for life, but the technology we use to manage that digital identity evolves over time. Digital ID cards, like the one Reelika is holding, are the most well known globally because they are also used by our e-residents. However, I’m using my mobile phone because it has the ID certificates embedded into the sim card, which is called Mobile-ID and is available to citizens and residents through their Estonian phone contracts. Either way, the digital ID system works in the same way with separate PIN codes for authenticating our identity and giving a signature.

Step 1: Logging in

Whether using a digital ID card or Mobile-ID, the first step is to authenticate our identity.

Step 2: Choosing a candidate

The next screen displays a list of parties and candidates for me to choose. I’ll be honest, I haven’t decided who to vote for yet so I just picked a random candidate during the video.

Step 3: Confirming my vote

I completed the voting process using my PIN2, which is for giving a legal signature. I already enter this PIN on a daily basis, such as to make a bank payment or sign a document.

Step 4: Auditing my vote

The most fundamental component of our digital nation — including i-Voting — is trust. Our digital nation will never be perfect because it’s continuously evolving and risks need to be managed along the way.

About ‘Estonian Saunas’

Thanks for reading. The Estonian Saunas blog is run by Anni and Adam, explorers and exporters of Estonian saunas.

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