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Voting Procedures – Instructions for Foreign Nationals Regarding the Local Government Elections in Iceland on 26 May 2018

Local government (municipal council) elections will be held on 26 May 2018.

Right to vote

Foreign nationals are entitled to vote in local government elections in Iceland after certain periods of residence in the country as follows:

  • Nordic nationals: After three consecutive years’ legal residence. For the elections on 26 May 2018, this will mean that they must have been resident since before 26 May 2015.
  • Other foreign nationals: After five consecutive years’ legal residence. For the elections on 26 May 2018, this will mean that they must have been resident since before 26 May 2013.

Am I on the electoral roll?

Everyone who has the right to vote will automatically be on the voters’ roll in the municipal (local government) area where they are registered as being domiciled on 5 May 2018 and will only be able to vote there. If you are not sure whether you are on the voters’ roll, you can find out about this from the National Registry. The voters’ roll will also be accessible for a period of at least 15 days prior to election day here. The roll is also available at municipal government offices no later than ten days prior to the date of the election.

I have recently moved or I intend to move. Will I be able to vote in my new municipality?

Yes, if notification of change of address has been submitted to the National Registry prior to 5 May 2018.

Where do I vote?

At the polling station on election day

  • Most voters will cast their votes at the polling station on election day, 26 May 2018.
  • Municipal governments announce where the polling stations are and when they are open.

Pre-election voting before the election day

  • Pre-election voting will take place at the district commissioners’ offices from 31 March 2018. Information about opening hours and location can be found on website: syslumenn.is.
  • Pre-election votes can also be cast at Icelandic embassies and consulates overseas and will begin on 31 March. For further information about location and opening hours see the Ministry for Foreign Affair´s website: mfa.is.
  • Further information regarding pre-election voting, including voting in institutions and in private homes and instructions on how to cast a pre-election voting are to be found on a video-film on the website.

Voting at the polling station

  1. Prove your identity by producing an identity document (with a photograph, e.g. your passport, driving license or ID-card) or in some other way which the electoral commission considers satisfactory.
  2. If you are entitled to vote, you will be given a ballot paper which you then take into the polling booth. 
  3. In the polling booth, you vote by making a cross (x) with a pencil in the box in front of the letter representing the list of candidates of your choice.
    In some smaller municipalities voters cast their votes by writing the names of their preference candidates on the ballot paper. You may bring a list with their names with you into the voting booth to refresh your memory.
  4. In the polling booths there are cards in Braille (for people with poor sight) with information about the letters representing the candidate lists. If you need assistance with voting, you may nominate a member of the electoral commission to help you. You may also request that a representative of your own choice help you to vote in the polling booth.  
    Assistance in the polling booth may only be given when voters are unable to vote in the prescribed manner due to poor sight or the inability to use their hands. Voters in this situation who are also unable to express their wishes to the electoral commission may submit certificates from their rights protection officers, in which case they will be allowed to have help with voting from a representative of their choice.
  5. If you want to change the order of the candidates on the list of your choice, write the number 1 in front of the name you would like to place at the top, the number 2 in front of the name you would like to have in second place, and so on. If you want to remove a candidate from the list, cross his or her name out.
    You are not permitted to make changes to lists of candidates other than the list for which you vote or to make any other markings anywhere on the ballot paper, as this may invalidate your vote.
  6. If you find you have indicated something you did not intend on your ballot paper by mistake, or if you spoil your ballot paper in some other way, give it to the electoral commission and you will be given a new one.
  7. Make sure that no one sees who you have voted for, because if this happens, your ballot is considered invalid and may not be put into the ballot box.
  8. When you have indicated your vote, fold the ballot paper along the same fold lines as it had when you received it and put it into the ballot box. Then leave the polling room.

Voting ends on Saturday night, 26 May 2018, and polling stations close at the latest at 22:00. Following this, the ballots will be counted and the results will then be announced in the media. Blank and invalid ballots are also counted and their numbers announced.

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