When it comes to digital ID for voting — and even doing it from the comfort of your sauna — Estonia might just stand as a sort of utopian ideal. The highly regarded Estonian digital ID is enabling mobile voting from virtually any connected location, and one author explains how it works as he votes from his backyard spa.
Even though one can even vote from a comfortable sauna, just less than a third did so in 2015. But during the country’s 2019 parliamentary election, nearly half used their digital ID for voting
Estonia serves as a point of envy for pretty much every country in the world interested in getting digital ID and online services conducted via those digital IDs right. Since 2001, the small Baltic country has benefited from an eID program that includes a government-issued digital identity capable of facilitating virtually all citizen-to-government transactions as well as a growing list of individual-to-business transactions. This includes the use digital ID for voting.
But now comes another source of potential jealously for those who follow and support digital ID initiatives. A recent article in Estonian World describe the particular joy that Estonian citizens derived from voting in the country’s recent parliamentary elections.
And, apparently, in a sauna.
Digital ID for voting eliminates lines
“We jumped into ice cold water during a sauna session to vote in Estonia’s parliamentary election. Just because we can,” the writer of the story states, almost tossing it in the faces of those unlucky souls who must stand in lines to vote. “Instead of queuing up at a polling station, we enjoyed a sauna at home and thought it would be fun to demonstrate how easy it is vote securely online while cooling off in ice-cold water.”
The country first offered secure online voting in 2005, the article notes, but even though one can technically vote from a comfortable sauna or other pleasing places, just less than a third did so in 2015, during the country’s last parliamentary election. In the 2019 election, nearly half used their digital ID for voting.
“More importantly, overall voting turnout has remained steady even as it has declined in other countries,” the article said. Not only that, but digital ID and secure online voting appeal to more than young, urban citizens. “Digital solutions, like i-voting, are popular across all demographics and it particularly helps those in rural areas (and Estonia is one of Europe’s most sparsely populated countries) or those with less mobility, such as the elderly.”
The use of digital ID for voting in Estonia also seems to fit in well with corporate and social media culture, the report said. “Many Estonian companies are now encouraging their staff to take ten minute breaks in order to vote (which is actually a minute to vote and nine minutes to enjoy a coffee) and even Facebook is sending us reminders this time.”
Think about using the Estonia digital ID for voting – and sauna voting – the next time you are making marks on that paper ballot in a voting booth. And remember that one day it is likely we all will be using our digital ID for voting.