Advance voting for county elections begins on Wednesday 12 January

Ministry of Justice
Publication date 5.1.2022 10.11
Press release

The advance voting period for the county elections is from 12 to 18 January 2022 in Finland and from 12 to 15 January 2022 abroad. Election day is Sunday 23 January 2022.

During the advance voting period, voters may cast their vote at any of the general advance polling stations in Finland or abroad. On election day, 23 January, voters must vote at the polling station specified in the notice of right to vote sent to them. 

There are 900 general advance polling stations in Finland. They are mainly located at town halls, libraries and shopping centres. The total number of election day polling stations is 1,664. Information on the advance polling stations and candidates is available on the website. Municipalities will also inform their residents about the polling stations themselves.

Abroad, advance voting will be arranged between 12 and 15 January. A possibility for advance voting will be provided in 94 places in 70 different countries. Some of the advance polling stations will be open only on certain days during the advance voting period. Eligible voters staying abroad during the elections may also vote by post.

Residents of Helsinki and Åland will not vote in county elections 

Residents of Helsinki will not vote in the county elections, because the City of Helsinki continues to be responsible for social, health and rescue services in Helsinki. Another exception is Åland, which is not affected by the health and social services reform.

COVID-19 epidemic will be taken into account in election arrangements

The county elections will be held with the arrangements required by the epidemiological situation. The Ministry of Justice and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) will take the development of the epidemic into account in the practical election arrangements. According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, voting is a low-risk activity.

The Ministry of Justice and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare have drawn up guidelines for election authorities on the safe conduct of elections during COVID-19. If local health authorities issue more detailed instructions, they will be observed. 

The website contains instructions for voters on maintaining health security at the polling stations during COVID-19. It is important to wear a face mask, use hand sanitiser and maintain sufficient physical distance from others at the polling station. Election officials will ensure safety at the polling stations and advise voters on how to follow the instructions. 

Special measures have been planned to enable voters placed in quarantine or isolation by a doctor or having respiratory symptoms to vote. Voters can contact the central municipal election board of their municipality to ask about the special arrangements.  

Eligible voters in county elections

People who reach the age of 18 years on election day at the latest have the right to vote in the county elections in their wellbeing services county. In addition to Finnish citizens, those citizens of EU Member States, Iceland and Norway who have a municipality of residence in Finland are also entitled to vote. Other foreign citizens are entitled to vote if they have had a municipality of residence in Finland for at least two years.

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency has sent a notice of right to vote to all eligible voters. The notice was sent in electronic format to those eligible voters who have activated the Messages service and given their consent for all official messages to be sent to them electronically.

Proving identity at polling stations

Voters must present proof of their identity when voting at a polling station. Official photo IDs, such as a passport, identity card and driving licence, are accepted as proof of identity. The old cardboard driving licence is also accepted, if the voter can be identified from the photo and the election official can thus reliably verify the voter's identity. 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. 

Election officials may ask voters to briefly remove their face mask to verify their identity. 

Follow voter turnout online

The website will provide real-time information on the voter turnout during the advance voting period. Information on the number of advance voters in each wellbeing services county and in the entire country will be updated on the website every hour during the advance voting period.

Heini Huotarinen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 150 127, [email protected]
Laura Nurminen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 150 008, [email protected]
Arto Jääskeläinen, Director of Electoral Administration, tel. +358 295 150 128, [email protected]

Information about elections and voting:
Instructions for voters during COVID-19
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare: Assessing the risk of spreading COVID-19 at events and gatherings (available in Finnish and Swedish)
Candidates for the county elections
Polling stations for the county elections
Postal voting instructions
More information about the wellbeing services counties (available in Finnish and Swedish)
Central municipal election boards (available in Finnish and Swedish)