Estonia E-Voting — Voter Registration

We had a great discussion with various people in Estonia about the country’s voter registration system. In Estonia, when you turn 18, you are automatically registered to vote at your address at that time. In addition, the person obtains a national identification card that has both a photo identification component and a digital signature. The identification card can be used for a variety of reasons, including making banking transactions and wire transfers over a certain amount (Estonians never have had to write checks in modern times; their financial transactions are all done via wire transfer.) Then, every time a person moves, they notify the local government of their move and their registration is automatically updated. However, if a person does not update their status they are still registered at their previous address. Unlike in America, however, a person who moves still only can have one registration; there are no people registered in multiple states. It is interesting that the government there has a population registry that tracks births and deaths, one of the basic backbones needed for a voter registration system.