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Voting in polling places becomes more flexible this year

01.01.2021

The new amendments to the Referendum Act and the election acts make voters independent from specific polling places. These also changed the voting schedule and eliminated the restrictions on political campaigning. Instead of the voter’s card, the voters will receive an elections information notice.

This year, we will introduce an electronic list of voters which will replace the paper lists that the polling places used to have. This means that a voter is no longer tied to a specific polling place; instead, they can choose the most convenient polling place in their electoral district. During referendums, voting is possible in around 400 polling places around Estonia.

The election schedule will also change. Voting will be condensed into one week. From Monday to Saturday, voting is possible either by ballot paper in a polling place, or online. On Sunday, voting is only possible by ballot paper. An innovation allows voters to annul their online vote in the polling place on Sunday with a ballot paper.

Voters will now receive an elections information notice. Before, every eligible voter received a voter’s card to their home address or by e-mail. Now, one non-personalised elections information notice will be sent to any address or e-mail which has been registered as contact information for at least one eligible voter. The purpose of the elections information notice is to provide general information about the right to vote and on the location of all the polling places in the municipality.

Campaigning restrictions are eliminated. From this year, political outdoor advertising is allowed throughout the entire election period. Active campaigning is also allowed on the election day. Political campaigning is no longer banned in indoor spaces through which the voters enter the polling place. Polling place itself must remain strictly free of advertising. For example, if the polling place is set up in a cultural or shopping centre, campaigning is banned only in the space where the voting takes place.