Voting in Sweden
There are different requirements for voting in the different elections. For example, residents without Swedish citizenship can vote in municipal elections, but Swedish citizenship is a requirement for parliamentary elections.
There are 6,800,000 eligible voters for parliamentary elections. These are Swedish citizens at least 18 years old. Around 116,000 live outside the country.
Altogether there are 7,000,000 eligible voters for county and municipal elections. They must live in their respective county or municipality, be at least 18 years old, and must be one of the following:
- Swedish citizen
- Citizen of an EU country
- Citizen of Iceland or Norway
- Non-EU/Nordic citizens who have been registered residents of Sweden for at least three years in a row before the date of the election (around 330,000 persons)
In 2006 there should be around 260,000 first-time voters, 8,400 of them with foreign citizenship.
- Swedish citizens who leave the country retain their right to vote in parliamentary elections for ten years
- Voting materials are sent to their registered address abroad
- To keep their right to vote after ten years they have to apply to the Swedish Tax Agency
Exercising the Franchise
Nearly 8 of 10 of those who are eligible vote. In the most recent election turnout for the parliamentary election was 80.1 percent, turnout for municipal councils was 77.9 percent, and turnout for county councils was 77.4 percent.
Turnout has declined over the years. For example in the 1970’s 9 out of 10 eligible voters took part in elections for parliament.
The Electoral System
You vote for a party. At the same time you can cast a particular vote for one of the candidates on that party’s list. This is known as a personal vote (“personval”) and can improve that person’s chances of getting elected despite their position on the party list.
The Swedish electoral system is proportional. This means that the number of representatives elected, for example to parliament, is in proportion to the number of votes the party receives. Regulations on election procedures are in the Election Law. Anyone who is an eligible voter is also eligible to run as a candidate in that election.