An online voting campaign expanded voting access during the Hungarian opposition primaries, serving as the first digital voting experience for nearly 150,000 Hungarians.
FACILITATING SAFE VOTER PARTICIPATION
In 2020, the Hungarian opposition parties agreed to nominate a joint candidate elected by the Hungarian voters in a primary election to run against Viktor Orbán in the general elections of 2022. To select a primary candidate, the Momentum party campaigned for the creation of an online voting platform to facilitate voter participation in a safe and novel way, despite opposition from the current government. Online voting not only appealed to progressive voters and was expected to result in better turnout among these voters, but was also crucial in small communities, where locals felt threatened by the governmental regime if they visibly participated in opposition-sponsored events. Digital voting also allowed for the inclusion of voters who were abroad during the primaries, and for safer participation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FAST AND SECURE ONLINE VOTING
With the agreement of other participating parties, Momentum took the lead in developing an online voting system, an effort that encompassed political, technical, and operational dimensions. The voting experience and the digital infrastructure that supported it were rebuilt by a team of activists under the leadership of Momentum Party Director Márk Mezei and CTO Miklós Danka within just a few weeks. With their involvement and the help of almost 250 operators, 266,579 votes were submitted online in the two rounds of the Hungarian opposition primaries. The upgraded voting experience involved a streamlined user interface to cater to a wider audience, live data entry, a video verification system that avoided the storage of personal data, and an advanced security system to ward off cyberattacks. Each of these features would be innovative individually – and when combined together, render the project groundbreaking.
A POSITIVE VOTING EXPERIENCE
Overall, the implementation of online primaries have contributed to the credible and safe introduction of digital, democratic processes across Europe. With the involvement of almost 250 operators, 266,579 votes were submitted online in the two rounds of the Hungarian opposition primaries. For at least 150,000 Hungarian voters, this was their first true digital, democratic experience – and for many voters, their first experience with an online identity verification process. Moreover, voters recognised the value of the campaign: a comprehensive survey among our voters highlighted that they considered the execution and management of online voting as one of the biggest successes the party had ever achieved.