IT has a land mass smaller than Scotland and its population is 1.3 million compared to our own 5.4m, but most citizens in what has become known as the Digital Republic have already cast their votes online for today’s European elections.

While the rest of us traipse out to the polling stations in hail, rain or shine, voters in Estonia can do it digitally from the comfort of their own homes – or saunas.

The country first started using i-voting 14 years ago and the number using it has risen gradually to 44% of voters in the country’s General Election in March.

E-residency has become popular in Estonia – a system whereby foreigners apply for a government-issued digital identity and accompanying status, giving them access to its transparent digital business environment.

Adam Rang, a digital evangelist, is in the process of setting up a business with his partner, Anni Oviir, serving the country’s 50,000 digital residents from more than 150 countries around the world. The couple jokingly describe themselves as “saunapreneurs”, because they also offer saunas for visitors to Estonia.

Rang told The National: “I’ve already voted in the European election while having a sauna.

“That’s because our online vote is part of our advanced voting period and there needs to be a gap between it and the final offline polling day, so the online vote can be annulled if there are any problems.

“Estonians can do almost anything online from anywhere, so Anni and I like to put that to the ultimate test by having a sauna at the same time. We also started a company online in a sauna and voted in the last Estonian General Election while submerged in ice water in the middle of having a sauna.

“We have a picture from when Anni and I started a company in a sauna … and this time, the European Commission came to do a video about it. I think this is also the first time someone has voted without wearing clothes!”