Right to Vote and Compilation of the Voting Register

Right to vote

Every Finnish citizen who has reached eighteen years of age has the right to vote in presidential elections.

Voting register

The Population Register Centre compiles a computer register of everyone entitled to vote (voting register) 46 days before election day. This registers contains certain information on the voters (including the voters name, identity code, electoral district, municipality of residence, and polling station) as this information appears in the Population Information System 51 days before election day.

The voting register is publicly available at the local register offices (maistraatti) from 41 days before the election day onwards. In addition, everyone in the register is sent a notice of his or her right to vote (card of information) not later than 24 days before election day. The card states among other things the election day, the days for advance voting, the address of the polling station of the recipient and the addresses and telephone numbers of the election authorities. The voting register is later used to print out electoral rolls for the polling stations on election day.

Claims for correction of the register have to be submitted to the civic administration not later than 16 days before election day. A correction may be demanded for instance if somebody considers that he or she has without cause been left out of the register or that the information in the register is incorrect. The civic administration shall decide the claims not later than 13 days before election day. A person not satisfied with a decision may appeal against it to a regional administrative court within seven days of service. The decision of the regional administrative court is not subject to appeal. An appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court is, however, possible in accordance with so-called extraordinary rights of appeal, which means an extraordinary appeal or application for the annulment of the administrative decision or for the restoration of lapsed time may be submitted. These are nevertheless extremely rare.

The voting register becomes legally valid at noon 12 days before election day. After this it may not be amended, in other words a person may neither be erased from nor added to the register and the information may not be changed. The only exceptions to this are the cases in which a regional administrative court or the Supreme Administrative Court reaches its decision after the register has already become legally valid. Then persons who e.g. pursuant to the court decision have been added to the voting register may vote in the elections, but they have to take the decision with them to the polling station and present it to the election authorities.