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Regional and local election

Voters head for the polls again due to mistakes

Published tisdag 10 maj 2011 kl 15.59

Serious mistakes in last years elections means that voters in one constituency in the town of Örebro and the West-Coast region of Västra Götaland are going to the polls again on Sunday to re-do the vote.

Last year's election saw a record number of complaints about irregularities in the election process. There were votes that never got counted and faulty votes that had been counted. In Örebro, volunteering election workers from one party accompanied voters into the polling station, which is strictly forbidden, and in Västra Götaland, three voters were declined to vote even though they had the right to do so.

As the election result in these two areas were particularly close - in the Örebro constituency it was only one vote that meant the Social Democrats got a seat instead of the Liberals - the elections appeal board decided these two elections would have to be re-done.

In Örebro, there are 28,000 voters who have the chance to vote again, while the whole region of Västra Götaland has 1,2 million voters on the electoral register.

But no one thinks that the re-election to a local council and a county council will attract as many voters as a general election day. Opinion polls ahead have suggested it is more likely to be around half of those eligible who will actually vote. And if you compare the number of people who have so far voted early in Västra Götaland to the number who had done so by this time ahead of the 2006-election, they are also just about half as many.

And if it is that few, it certainly could affect the election result. At the moment, Västra Götaland sees a red green coalition supported by the small independent Sjukvårdspartiet manning the county council, which is the body that decides on health care in this country. But these parties have no outright majority and are dependent on support from the xenophobic Sweden Democrats.

And in Örebro, the Sweden Democrats are also holding the balance of power, as the governing Social Democrat and Left party coalition is only slightly bigger than the centre-right-coalition, which is supported by the greens.

It remains to be seen if and how Sunday's elections will change the mandates. What political scientists say though is that small parties may be favoured in a re-election like this.

And professor Mikael Gilljam, at Gothenburg University, who called this "the most forgotten of all forgotten elections" told the daily Dagens Nyheter that if the turn-out really will be as low as many predict this may be the kiss of death to the argument that local elections should be held separate from the general elections, something that has been promoted by those who claim local issues always get overshadowed by what is happening national elections.

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