In the last three years, Tallinn City Government that is ruled by the Centre Party has extensively used taxpayer money to finance its campaign against e-voting in Estonia, reports Eesti Päevaleht.
Among others, the City has ordered and paid for two forums, a number of foreign trips and publication of two books on the issue. Most recently, a week ago a group of IT experts, mainly from US, held a press conference in Tallinn with claims that Estonian e-voting system is vulnerable and urged Estonian and EU authorities to ban the use of the system.
it should be said that Estonia’s leading IT experts including Tarvi Martens, author of Estonia’s e-voting system, admit that the group members are merited and professional experts, and that debate about the security issues of the system is most welcome.
However, since contrary to promises, the group has not yet published the technical report about the vulnerabilities, the accusations remained general and unspecific. Some questionmarks remain above claims that the group is politically unbiased, especially since several of their members visited Estonia’s 2013 municipal elections in a trip funded by the City Government.
In addition, four out of six members including J. Alex Halderman, Harri Hursti, Jason Kitcat and ja Margaret MacAlpine have repeatedly visited Tallinn in trips funded by the Tallinn City Government. Kitcat, for instance, was in Estonia in February to give several lectures about the threats of e-voting and meetings with Centre Party members. "I shared my experience, ideas and contacts how to develop the campaign against e-voting in Estonia,” Kitcat wrote in his blog.
In addition, Tallinn City Government allocated about 10,000 euros to publish the book of US computer scientist Barbara Simons about the risks of e-voting. Funding has also been provided for the publication of another book on the issue.
When Eesti Päevaleht asked from Tallinn City Government for details about funding of events aimed at questioning e-voting in recent years, no response was provided.
The activities aimed at discrediting e-voting are coordinated by the non-profit organization Honest Elections (MTÜ Ausad Valimised) that is managed by Siret Kotka, adviser of the Tallinn City Government and the Deputy Mayor of Tallinn.