Lithuanian govt backs e-voting, suggests testing it abroad

  • 2020-06-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Lithuanian government has backed the legalization of e-voting but suggeststesting the new procedure, first of all, during a vote abroad in the special constituency for Lithuanian living abroad.

On Monday, the Cabinet backed the amendments under consideration by the Seimas, which would allow voting online during the upcoming general election.

The bill was initiated by the ruling Social Democratic Labor Party of Lithuania, motivating the need to introduce alternative voting option amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon receipt of the government's conclusion, the bill will be further deliberated by the Seimas.

Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevicius says e-voting cannot be introduced for the upcoming general election in October and suggests that lawmakers should consider introducing such a voting option for municipal, presidential EP elections and referenda.

„E-voting should be safe and trustworthy so than nobody has doubt over election results. Therefore, it is important to consult cyber security experts while creating and introducing such a system, and test and trial this method. With less than three months until an election, it’s impossible to create and test such a system," Jankevicius said.

The Justice Ministry also said in a statement that the procurement of an information system, creation and testing procedures could take from 18 to 24 months.

Under the bill under consideration by the Seimas, e-voting would be allowed to take place three days from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Moreover, a person could change their mind and come to vote to a polling station.

Finally, people would be able to vote online several times as the last vote would count.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Ramunas Karbauskis, leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, the SDLP's coalition partner, have said earlier e-voting would be impossible during the upcoming election.

President Gitanas Nauseda has also suggested introducing e-voting for Lithuanian living abroad. He expressed such an idea during his State of the Nation Address last week.

Lithuanian will hold a general election on October 11.

Those in favor of e-voting say it would boost voter turnout. Those against it say, however, it's impossible to increase the secrecy and safety of voting.