Cybernetica selected to renew Estonian internet voting software

27. Jul 2016

Cybernetica has won the bid for developing the Estonian electronic voting system, entailing a renewal of the system for the local government elections in October 2017.

The current software, created in 2004, needs overhaul as the gradual updates (such as adding the Mobile-ID capacity and others) have rendered the grasp on the source code structure challenging.

According to Oliver Väärtnõu, the CEO of Cybernetica, the contract is highly significant for the Estonian cybersecurity landscape. “Internet voting is, without doubt, one of Estonia’s most critical information systems, which we have been developing for over a decade already. The government is an important strategic partner for us across all of our domains and we are pleased that the successful cooperation will continue with internet voting as well,” Väärtnõu said.

“The new system will be more universal, allowing more possible applications, in addition to using it for Estonian nation-wide elections and referendums – such as internal elections of large corporations, local government polls and also abroad,” said Tarvi Martens, chairman of Estonian Electronic Voting Committee.

The voting procedure will remain the same for the voter and the source code will remain open. “The planned changes will allow the observers to keep an eye on how the stored e-votes will become election results more efficiently, based on mathematical proof,” Martens explained. “In other words, mathematics will prevail over the human factor. Technical proof allows us to control the system with much more efficiency,” he added.

“We are signing a long-term contract with Cybernetica for the development and maintenance of the electronic voting system and a separate contract for the technical development to renew the system for the local government elections in October 2017,” said Head of Elections Department of the Parliament of Estonia, Priit Vinkel. “The broader perspective for these changes is to continue to provide a secure electronic voting possibility for the voters,” Vinkel added.

The bid was open to all EU entities and received bids from three companies. Electronic voting has been used in Estonia since 2005.