Sunday 8/1/21
MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

Overseas voting drop significantly due to coronavirus pandemic

The busiest advanced polling stations were in Spain: only in Fuengirola were there more voters than in Estonia or Russia, for example.
Advance polling station organized by the Finnish Embassy in Madrid. Photo: Twitter/@EmbFinMadrid.
Advance polling station organized by the Finnish Embassy in Madrid. Photo: Twitter/@EmbFinMadrid.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2,684 people voted in Finland's missions abroad in this year's municipal elections.

The number is significantly lower than in the 2017 municipal elections, when the total number of voters abroad was 9,500.

The reason why overseas voting has decreased so much is the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent travel restrictions, which limit the presence in other countries of Finnish residents with the right to vote.

Advance voting was arranged in 71 countries and at a total of 102 polling stations.

In addition, advance voting was made possible for crew on some twenty Finnish vessels. A bit more than a hundred Finnish crew members cast their advance votes on board.

Advance voting was also arranged at the bases of the Finnish crisis management forces in Erbil, Iraq, and in Lebanon.

Spain, the busiest station

The busiest advance polling stations abroad were in Spain with 318 voters, of which 198 in Fuengirola.

The second highest voter turnout was recorded in Brussels where 282 persons cast their votes. Estonia with 158 advance voters came in third place. In Lebanon, the number of advance voters was 136 and in Russia 138.

Eligible voters staying abroad during the elections could also vote by post. Postal voting was recommended because the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to guarantee advance voting in all the planned polling stations. For that reason, voters were advised to order postal voting documents in advance.

Advance voting could not be organised, for example, in New Delhi and Kathmandu.

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