Municipal elections will be held in Finland on Sunday, 9 April 2017. In the elections, municipal councillors and deputy councillors are elected for the next four-year term. The local councils’ term of office will begin on 1 June 2017.
Persons who reach the age of 18 no later than on the election day are entitled to vote in that municipality which was their municipality of residence on 17 February 2017. In addition to Finnish citizens, those citizens of EU Member States, Iceland and Norway whose municipality of residence is in Finland are entitled to vote. Other foreign citizens are entitled to vote if they have had a municipality of residence in Finland for at least two years.
The Population Register Centre will send a notice of right to vote (polling card) to all eligible voters. The address of the polling station where the voter is entitled to vote on the election day is stated in the card.
In municipal elections, the voters may vote either on the election day or in advance during the advance voting period. Voters may only vote for a person who stands as a candidate in the voter’s own municipality. Voters must present a photo ID, such as a passport, identity card or driving licence, to the election official.
On the election day, 9 April, voters may cast their votes only at the polling station indicated in the polling card. The polling stations are open at 9.00-20.00.
Information on advance polling stations available on the internet and through telephone service
The advance voting period is in Finland from 29 March to 4 April and abroad from 29 March to 1 April. At some polling stations, however, the voting period is shorter than this. Eligible voters may cast their vote at any of the general advance polling stations in Finland or abroad.
Information on the addresses and opening hours of advance polling stations is available on the elections website of the Ministry of Justice (vaalit.fi) and at the free service numbers, 0800 9 4770 and 0800 9 4771.
People whose ability to move is so restricted that they are unable to come to a polling station may vote in advance at home. Those who wish to vote in advance at their home must notify the central municipal election board in their municipality of this by 16.00 on 28 March. The informal caregiver of a person entitled to vote at home, living in the same household, may under certain conditions also vote at home.
Information on elections available in more than 20 languages
The elections website of the Ministry of Justice, Vaalit.fi, contains information on the municipal elections in more than 20 different languages. In addition to Finnish, Swedish, the Saami languages, Karelian and Romani, information is available in Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, English, Estonian, French, German, Kurdish (Soranî), Persian, Polish, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.
The Ministry of Justice will, in cooperation with the Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi, send a letter encouraging voting to those young persons who may now vote for the first time. The Ministry also supports a campaign by the Network of Multicultural Associations Moniheli, Our Election, which consists of panel discussions and other events in different parts of Finland.
Furthermore, the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Justice contains videos on voting in easy-to-understand language and sign language. Brochures in easy-to-read Finnish and Swedish are also available. Information on the elections is also provided in a format suitable for the visually impaired.
Election results will be published as they are counted
Preliminary information on the counting of votes will be published on 9 April from 20.00 onwards. The preliminary results of the elections will be counted during the evening and night following the election day. Once the check count is completed, the central municipal election boards will confirm the final election results in each municipality on Wednesday 12 April.
The newly elected councillors and deputy councillors must file an election funding disclosure with the National Audit Office of Finland by 12 June 2017. Candidates may also choose to file a voluntary advance disclosure containing an estimate of their campaign costs with the National Audit Office of Finland.