Advance voting for Parliamentary Elections begins today
Advance voting in Finland’s Parliamentary elections began today - Wednesday - and continues until Tuesday next week.
The actual election day is Sunday March 18th, while advance voting is arranged in Finland on March 7 to 13 and abroad on March 7 to 10.
Every Finnish citizen who will reach the age of 18 not later than on the day of the election, March 18th, is also entitled to vote in advance.
All eligible voters have been sent a notice of their right to vote - an information card - not later than 24 days before the election day.
In the 2003 Parliamentary elections 37.3 per cent of voters cast their ballots in advance, while in 1999 the corresponding figure was 40.1 per cent of all voters.
To vote by absentee ballot, a voter needs a photo ID, for example a driving licence or passport. The information card is not obligatory, though it might speed up the process.
In Finland, a total of 862 polling stations are open for advance voting in local post-offices, city halls, libraries, and other municipal offices, as well as in some commercial centres. In addition, special advance polling stations include hospitals, prisons, and some institutions where only those who receive treatment or are incarcerated there may vote.
Those Finnish citizens who are living abroad can vote at Finnish embassies.
At the main post office in Helsinki, the first voters were waiting their turn already before the post office opened its doors on Wednesday morning.
In most cases, the decision to vote in advance is a matter of the voter's being away on the actual polling day, or the possibility that he or she might be.
Around 3,000 to 5,000 people a day are expected to cast their vote in advance at the main post office.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Voters rush to polls to vote in advance (6.3.2003)
Ministry of Justice elections website