Success in eVoting – Success in eDemocracy? The Estonian Paradox

  • Maarja TootsEmail author
  • Tarmo Kalvet
  • Robert Krimmer
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9821)


Estonia has acquired the reputation of a successful e-voting country, and perhaps justifiably so. It was the first country in the world to enable remote online voting in nationwide elections in 2005 and the share of e-voters has been on a rise ever since, now reaching one-third of all voters. Against this backdrop of a seemingly flourishing e-democracy, we set out to ask if the country’s success in e-voting also implies its success in e-democracy in a broader sense. In a qualitative case study, we compare Estonia’s experience in e-voting with the implementation and outcomes of three e-participation projects to demonstrate that considerable discrepancies exist between the take-up and perceived success of e-voting vis-à-vis other e-democracy instruments. In light of these findings the paper further discusses the factors that are likely to account for these differences and highlights the need to look beyond the success of online voting for a holistic evaluation of the state of e-democracy in a given country.


e-Democracy e-Participation e-Voting Estonia Case study 



This work was supported by the European Commission (OpenGovIntelligence H2020 grant 693849), Estonian Research Council (grants IUT19-13, PUT773) and Tallinn University of Technology Project B42.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and GovernanceTallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia

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