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Estonia planning to cut length of election period to 1 week

TALLINN - The Riigikogu constitutional committee on Tuesday discussed a proposal to amend election related laws so that the length of the period of election would be one week starting in 2021, compared with 11 days now.

According to the proposal, voters would be able to cast their ballot at a polling station other than the polling station of their registered place of residence from Monday to Thursday, e-voting would take place from Monday to Saturday, and people with mobility problems would be able to vote in their home from Friday to Sunday.

In addition, the amendments would introduce electronic lists of voters, which will enable voters to cast their vote at any polling station of their district.

The chairman of the constitutional committee, Marko Pomerants, said that in accordance with valid law the election period lasts from Thursday of the week preceding the election week to Sunday of the election week. It includes a three-day intermission prior to the main day of the election to enable the transportation of ballots cast at other polling stations to the polling stations of the voters' registered place of residence.

"In the future there will be no need for a pause like this because with electronic lists the votes can be counted at the right polling station at once," Pomerants said. Moreover, voters will no longer have to vote at the library or community center where the polling station of their registered place of residence is located but will be able to cast a vote at any polling station of their electoral district, he added.

The proposal to amend the laws was filed in March 2017 by the parliament groups of the Center Party, the Social Democratic Party and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL).

The amendments are planned to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

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