We, 4.10.2023

E-voting creator: the system is bulletproof

Sander Punamäe
, reporter
Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kert Kingo
Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kert Kingo Photo: Margus Ansu

One of the creators of the Estonian e-voting system, Tarvi Martens, sees the formation of a working group to assess the security and reliability of ICT voting solutions as a political statement by Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kert Kingo (EKRE).

According to the order signed by Kingo, the aim of the working group is to verify compliance of security measures of the Estonian electronic voting system with cybersecurity and elections regulations.

Two members of the 14-strong working group – private individuals Märt Põder and Heldur-Valdek Seeder – will go into the group’s first meeting next week as skeptics. “They have been piling new components onto base architecture since 2011, but now it is time to check whether the system really works as it should and whether these components work together,” Põder said, adding that even he does not fully understand what the working group will be doing. “We need independent people to carry out these checks because I say these components do not mix”.

One of the creators of the e-voting system, Tarvi Martens, invited to participate as a private individual, said he fails to detect any function with the working group. “It is interesting when a minister suddenly starts organizing something she does not understand. They say that e-voting is not transparent or verifiable. That is inaccurate. I must once again go and explain to them that such fears are born of ignorance or poor education,” Martens said.

Head of the cybersecurity policy working group at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Raul Rikk said that goals will be laid down during the first meeting.

Tarvi Martens said he will attend the meeting out of sense of duty.

“I will participate so I can explain matters. The e-voting system has been designed to be bulletproof. I need to keep repeating the same words: it has no weaknesses. The current system sees all votes counted in a mathematically proven process. Nothing depends on people or computers. I need to think of more ways to get this point across for it to finally hit home,” the expert said.

Other members of the working group include Mihkel Tammet, Raul Rikk, Mariko Jõeorg-Jurtšenko, Marti Allingu, Arne Koitmäe and Tarmo Hanga. Invitations have also been sent to Tanel Tammet, Mihkel Solvak, Liia Hänni and Epp Maaten.