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Vaalit ja äänestäminen Suomessa

Elections and voting in Finland

Published25.08.2022

In Finland, the municipal council, county council of the wellbeing services county, parliament and president are elected. In addition, Finland votes in the European Parliament elections. Normally, all Finnish citizens who are at least 18 years of age have the right to vote. Even if you are not a Finnish citizen, you may have the right to vote in municipal, county and European elections.

Voting

You will receive a notification of your right to vote, or notification of eligibility (äänioikeusilmoitus), approximately one month before the election day.

If you do not receive a notification, contact the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

The notification of eligibility specifies your polling station. If you vote on the election day, you will only be able to vote at the polling station specified in the notification of eligibility.

In all elections, you can also vote before the actual election day during the advance voting period. If you vote in advance, you may do so at any of the general advance polling stations in Finland or abroad.

You must take an identity document with you when you go to vote.

Municipal elections

The most important matters of a municipality are decided by the municipal council (kunnanvaltuusto). The members of the municipal council, i.e. the municipal councillors, are elected through the municipal election. The municipal election is held every four years. The number of municipal councillors depends on the population of the municipality.

Who can vote?

You can vote in the municipal elections if you turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. It is also required that you meet either of the following conditions:

  • You are a citizen of Finland, an EU country, Iceland or Norway and have a municipality of residence in Finland.
  • You are a citizen of another country and you have had a municipality of residence in Finland for a continuous period of at least two years.

In the municipal elections, you have the right to vote in the municipality that is registered as your municipality of residence in the Finnish Population Information System on the 51st day before the elections. If your municipality of residence changes after this day, your right to vote will remain in the municipality that was your municipality of residence 51 days before the elections. You can only vote for a candidate from this municipality.

County elections

Wellbeing services counties will provide social and health care services and emergency services from 2023 onwards. All municipalities belong to one of the 21 wellbeing services counties.

The most important matters of the wellbeing services county are decided by the county council, whose members are elected in county elections. The number of councillors depends on the population of the wellbeing services county.

There will be no county elections in Helsinki, as the City of Helsinki will continue to organise the services.

Who can vote?

You can vote in the county elections of your own wellbeing services county if you are 18 years old on the election day, at the latest. You must also meet one of the following two conditions:

  • You are a citizen of Finland, another EU country, Iceland or Norway and have a municipality of residence in Finland.
  • You are a citizen of another country and you have had a municipality of residence in Finland for a continuous period of at least two years.

You have the right to vote in the wellbeing services county to which your municipality belongs.

Parliamentary elections

Parliament (eduskunta) is the most important decision-making body of the Finnish state. Parliament enacts laws and decides upon the state budget. Parliament also supervises the operations of the government. 

The Members of Parliament are elected through parliamentary elections. A parliamentary election is held every four years. In the parliamentary election, the country is divided into electoral districts. You can only vote for a candidate from your electoral district. A certain number of members of parliament are selected from each district. The number depends on the population of the electoral district. A total number of 200 Members of Parliament are elected.

Who can vote?

You can vote in the parliamentary election if you are a Finnish citizen and turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. Finnish citizens who live abroad are also entitled to vote.

Presidential elections

The President is Finland’s head of state.

The President of the Republic

  • ratifies laws,
  • appoints the highest officials,
  • leads foreign policy together with the government and
  • acts as the Supreme Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces.

The President is elected through the presidential election. The presidential election is held every six years. The same person can be elected President for no more than two consecutive terms of office.

The presidential elections normally have two phases. If neither candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in the first round of the election, a second round is held. The two candidates who received the most votes in the first round enter the second round. The candidate who receives the most votes in the second round is elected President.

Who can vote?

You can vote in the presidential election if you are a Finnish citizen and you turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. Finnish citizens who live abroad are also entitled to vote.

European Parliament elections

The European Parliament is, together with the Council of the European Union, the most important legislator in the European Union. The governments of the member states are represented in the Council of the European Union. The Parliament has 705 members, 14 of whom have been elected from Finland. The Members of Parliament are appointed through an election. The election is held every five years.

Who can vote?

You can vote in the European Parliament elections if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • you are a Finnish citizen and turn 18 on the election day, at the latest.
  • you are a citizen of another EU country and turn 18 on the election day, at the latest. In addition, you must have a municipality of residence in Finland 51 days prior to the election day. You must be registered in the voting register in Finland. Register at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency no later than 80 days prior to the election day.

You can vote in the same election in one EU member state only.