All you need to know to participate in the upcoming European elections
Finnish voters will elect 13 Members of the European Parliament in the 26 May elections. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU, a 14th member will be elected from Finland
Elections to the European Parliament (European elections) will be held in the Member States of the European Union between 23 and 26 May 2019. In these elections, 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 28 Member States will be elected for the next five-year term.
Election day in Finland is Sunday 26 May. The number of MEPs to be elected in Finland in the 2019 elections is 13. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU, a 14th MEP will be elected from Finland in accordance with the results of this election.
Right to vote and voting register
According to the information provided by the Finnish Government, every Finnish citizen who has reached the age of 18 no later than on election day, irrespective of his or her place of residence, is entitled to vote. If a Finnish citizen has registered to vote in the European elections that are held in some other EU Member State, he or she is not, however, entitled to vote in the European elections in Finland.
Citizens of other EU Member States who have reached the age of 18 no later than on election day and who have a municipality of residence in Finland are also entitled to vote in Finland, according to the law. In addition, citizens of other EU Member States who are employed by the EU or other international organisations and are resident in Finland may vote in Finland even if they do not have a municipality of residence here. This requires, however, that they have registered to vote in Finland.
The Population Register Center will send a polling card (a notice of right to vote) to each eligible voter. The card contains information on the voter's polling station on election day as well as a list of the advance polling stations in the voter's electoral district. The card will be sent in electronic format to those eligible voters who have activated the Suomi.fi Messages service and given their consent for all official notifications to be sent to them electronically.
Voting and proof of identity
Voting in the European elections is possible either on election day 26 May or in advance during the advance voting period, which is in Finland from 15 to 21 May and abroad from 15 to 18 May. Candidates in the European elections are the same in the entire country, so the voters may vote for any of the candidates. The master list of candidates and candidate numbers are confirmed on 25 April.
Voters must present some form of official photo ID both when voting on election day and when voting in advance, for example a passport, an identity card or a driving licence. The old cardboard driving licence will also be accepted as proof of identity, if the voter can be identified from the photo and the election official can thus reliably verify the identity of the voter. Voters who do not have a valid proof of identity can obtain a temporary identity card free of charge from the police for voting purposes.
Advance voting in Finland and abroad
The advance voting period in the European elections is in Finland 15–21 May 2019. Advance voting is arranged abroad between 15 and 18 May, but the voting period is shorter than this at several advance polling stations abroad.
Eligible voters may cast their vote at any of the general advance polling stations in Finland or abroad. Information about the addresses and opening hours of the advance polling stations is available on the election website of the Ministry of Justice and at the elections helpline. Calls to the helpline are free of charge, and service is provided in Finnish (0800 9 4770) and in Swedish (0800 9 4771). Election-related questions can also be sent on WhatsApp (050 438 8730).
Persons whose ability to move is so restricted that they are unable to come to an advance polling station or a polling station on election day without undue difficulty may vote in advance in their homes. Those who wish to vote in advance in their home must notify the central electoral committee in their municipality of their intention by 16.00 on 14 May. The family carer of a person entitled to vote at home, living in the same household, may under certain conditions also vote at home.
Eligible voters living permanently abroad or staying abroad at the time of the elections may also choose to vote by post in the European elections. An eligible voter wishing to vote by post must order the postal voting documents to an address located abroad in advance, cast his or her vote after receiving the documents, and send the ballot in a covering envelope to the central municipal election board of his or her municipality in Finland.
Postal voting will be possible from 25 April onwards, once the candidate numbers have been confirmed. Postal votes must arrive at the correct central municipal election board by 19.00 on Friday 24 May. More detailed instructions are available HERE
Voting on election day 26 May
Election day is Sunday 26 May, and the polling stations will then be open between 9.00 and 20.00. On election day, voters may cast their votes only at the polling station specified on the polling card sent to them before the elections.
The counting of advance votes will be started already on election day while the voting still continues. The counting of votes cast on election day will be started once the polling stations have been closed. Preliminary information about the vote count will be published at 20.00 on election day, when the count of the advance votes has mainly been completed. Preliminary results of the elections will be made available during the evening.
A recount of the votes will be conducted by the constituency electoral committees on Monday 27 May. The constituency electoral committee of Helsinki will confirm the final election results in the entire country in its meeting to be held on 29 May.
Information in different languages
The elections website of the Ministry of Justice provides information about the European elections in many different languages (in Finnish, Swedish, Skolt Saami, Inari Saami, North Saami, Finnish and Finland-Swedish Sign Languages, and in several foreign languages, such as English, Estonian and Russian).
In addition, 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 about elections is also provided in a format suitable for the visually impaired.
The Ministry of Justice will also provide information about elections and voting through its social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook.