Calculation of election results in municipal elections
Counting of advance votes
The central municipal election boards begin counting the advance votes on election day at 15.00 at the earliest (or, on special grounds, at noon at the earliest). The brown ballot envelopes are then opened and the ballots in them are counted.
The goal is to have all advance votes counted so that the results of the advance voting are ready by 20.00 on election day. Before this, the central municipal election boards are not allowed to reveal anything on how the counting is progressing.
Counting of votes cast on election day
Once the polling stations close at 20.00, election boards begin a preliminary count of the votes cast on election day. The election board opens the ballot box, counts the ballots inside of it, and enters the number of votes cast for each candidate in an election record.
Immediately after this, the election board informs the central municipal election board of the number of votes received by each candidate, in other words the election results in the voting district in question. The central municipal election board then transmits the results to the centralised calculation system that is part of the Election Information System of the Ministry of Justice.
Finally, the election board seals the ballots in a parcel and delivers it immediately to the central municipal election board, which conducts a recount of ballots on the Monday following election day.
Publication of preliminary election results
Preliminary election results are known and published already in the evening of election day. Once the polling stations close at 20.00, the results of the advance voting are published. Thereafter, the preliminary calculations of election boards are entered in the Election Information System as soon as they are ready. The preliminary results of the elections are usually ready by 23.00 on election day. However, in the largest cities, especially in Helsinki, it may take until midnight before the preliminary results are ready.
Confirming election results
The central municipal election board conducts a recount of votes on the Monday following election day. The board confirms the election result in the municipality at its meeting to be held on the Wednesday following election day, starting at 18.00 at the latest. The term of office of the newly elected local council begins on 1 June.
Polling representatives’ right to be present
The polling representatives of political parties and constituency associations or persons authorised by them have the right to be present in the meetings of the central municipal election board that concern the counting of advance votes, recount of votes and confirmation of election results, as well as in the election board’s meeting where the votes are counted.
Determining election results
The method used for determining election results is the D'Hondt method. In the first stage, the total number of votes received by each grouping, in other words
- each political party that does not belong to any electoral alliance,
- each electoral alliance,
- each joint list, and
- each constituency association that does not belong to a joint list,
is counted. Political parties that have formed an electoral alliance are thus treated as a single grouping, as are constituency associations belonging to a joint list. In the second stage, the candidates in each grouping are ranked in accordance with the number of votes they have received. In the third stage, each candidate is given a comparative index so that the first-ranked candidate receives as his or her comparative index the total number of votes cast for the grouping, the second candidate half of the number, the third candidate one third of the number, the fourth candidate one fourth of the number and so forth. In the final stage, the names of all candidates in the municipality are listed in the order of their comparative indexes. As many local councillors are chosen from the beginning of this list as are to be elected in the municipality in question.