Estonian internet voting software used in Utah Republican caucus

Estonian-developed internet voting software was used in the Utah Republican caucus where the Utah Republicans voted to choose the party’s nominee for president in the 2016 election.

At the caucus, the voters had the opportunity to vote using traditional methods or to vote online. For online voting, the Utah Republican Party used a secure i-voting system developed by the Smartmatic-Cybernetica Internet Voting Centre of Excellence that is based in Estonia.

Sven Heiberg, the CEO of the centre said it was created as a joint venture between Cybernetica and Smartmatic, two global leaders in electronic voting systems.

“The software used in the Utah [caucus] was developed in Estonia, but for the Estonian elections, we use a different system due to the differences in the local infrastructure,“ Heiberg said. Namely, Estonia uses its ID-card infrastructure for secure authentication and digital signature purposes, while in Utah, all voters had to pre-register in order to be eligible to vote online.

The system has also been used in Chile, where eligible voters in the Maipu region were engaged in the budgetary decision making.

The Smartmatic-Cybernetica Centre for Excellence for Internet Voting was created in 2014 as a multidisciplinary centre of research and development. Its goal is to study and develop the process of voting over the Internet from all angles: social, political, organisational, procedural and technological.

Ted Cruz won the Utah caucus that was held on 22 March.

In 2005, Estonia became the first country in the world where people could vote online. As of now, every third person in the country votes online, without needing to go to a polling station.

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Cover image by Shutterstock.

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.