Municipal elections will be held on 13 June 2021 in all the 293 municipalities in mainland Finland. The right to vote is also extended to almost all people who live in Finland but who are not Finnish citizens.
Municipalities decide on things like daycare, schools, traffic, public housing, cultural services, sport facilities and to date health care, too. Decisions made by municipalities directly affect our daily life, work and environment.
In every municipality, there is a municipal council ranging from 13 to 85 councillors, depending on the number of inhabitants. All are directly elected by voters.
On the actual election day you can vote at your local polling station. It is usually close by and specified in the voting register card you receive before the elections. To vote, you only need to produce an official photo ID.
It is also possible to vote in advance between 26 May and 8 June. The advance polling stations are located in places like libraries, shopping centres and municipal office buildings.
The vast majority of adult people living in Finland have the right to vote in these elections, under certain conditions, regardless of their citizenship or country of origin.
If you are a Finnish citizen who has reached the age of 18 on the election day at the latest and reside in Finland, you have the right to vote.
However, if you are a citizen of the other 26 European Union countries, Norway or Iceland and residing in Finland, you can vote under the same conditions as Finnish citizens.
If you are a citizen of any other country than those mentioned above, you might still have the right to vote in the municipal elections. For this you need to have been living in Finland for at least two years on the 51st day before the elections. That is the day when the voting register is drafted.
No one needs to register separately to get on the voting register. Lists are automatically updated, based on the Finnish Population Information System. Once your personal data is recorded in this system, it will be registered and you should you have the right to vote.
Riku Aalto, the President of the Industrial Union, stressed that the turnout in the last municipal elections was only 59 per cent.
– This means that every vote cast then counted for almost two votes. So why give that power to someone else, when you can exercise it yourself, Aalto asks.
A good web page for relevant information on elections is www.vaalit.fi. It provides information in Finnish, Swedish and English on all you need to know about these elections and what you need to do to cast your ballot. Just remember to vote.
TEXT HEIKKI JOKINEN