Brisk turnout on first day of advance voting
Advance voting in the Parliamentary elections began on Wednesday morning, with 172,779 citizens - 4.23 per cent of the electorate - casting their ballots on the first day.
The number of people casting absentee ballots at post offices and other locations on the first day was significantly higher than four years ago. At that time, 127,667 voters turned up, which is 3.12 per cent of registered voters.
There are just under 4.1 million people in Finland who are eligible to vote.
So far, women have been slightly more active than men. The most active have been voters aged 65 to 74; more than ten percent of that age group cast their ballots on Wednesday. The least active are the youngest voters, aged 18 to 24; only slightly over one per cent of the age group have voted.
The Lapland electoral district was the busiest, with just over five per cent exercising their right. In the Åland Islands, the figure was just 1.8 per cent.
At the post office in Itäkeskus, in the east of Helsinki voters were actually queueing up. In an advance voting station set up in an empty business property in another part of the Itäkeskus shopping mall, things were more quiet at about noon.
Katja Tujula spent more time than usual in the voting booth, because the choice in these elections was exceptionally difficult.
There are more than 850 locations where advance voting is possible in Finland. Most of them are open until eight in the evening.
An official identity document with a photograph is required at the advance voting station - for instance a driving licence or a passport.
Having the notification card that was mailed to all eligible voters speeds up the process, but it is not mandatory.
In the Parliamentary elections of 2003, 37.3 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots in advance. The busiest days were the last two days of advance voting.
Advance voting continues in Finland until Tuesday. At polling stations abroad, advance voting ends already on Saturday.
Those voting in advance can do so at any of the polling stations, regardless of their place of residence. However, the voter is restricted to the canddiates of the electoral district where he or she is registered.
The actual election day is March 18th.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Advance voting for Parliamentary Elections begins today (7.3.2007)