Mobilizing Voters: Estonia To Allow Citizens To Vote By SMS

imageWell, it certainly eliminates the problem of hanging chads. Starting with its 2011 election, the Estonian Parliament will allow citizens to vote by SMS, putting it on course to make it the first country to allow voting by mobile phone, AP reports. Lawmakers approved the measure last week, which will work by requiring citizens to obtain a free (authorized) chip that will verify the users identity and authorize participation in the electronic voting system.

Estonia, which neighbors mobile leaders Finland and Sweden, allowed voters to cast Internet ballots in last year’s parliamentary vote. Critics have questioned possible security risks in those elections, but a government spokesman said the internet voting system proved secure and the mobile system “is the most secure way to authenticate digital signatures.” With the next parliamentary vote almost three years away, that potentially opens the window for another country to launch a similar system first. Finland and Sweden are also reportedly looking into conducting a “cellular election.”