2014 is a “super” election year in Sweden with four elections taking place. First out is the European Parliament Election on May 25th. Want to vote for Swedish MEPs but no idea how to go about it? We’re here to help!
When do I vote?
The European Parliament elections are taking place in each European Union member state between 22 and 25 May 2014. In Sweden the election will take place on Sunday 25 May.
Who CAN vote for Swedish MEPs?
Citizens of any member state of the European Union who are 18 years old on Election Day can vote in this election. However, they must be registered residents in Sweden at least 30 days before Election Day.
If you want to take part in this vote (for Swedish MEPs) you must also submit an application requesting that you be listed on the electoral roll. This application will automatically be sent to EU citizens registered in Sweden. However, note that if you choose to vote in this election in Sweden, you may not vote in the European Elections in another country.
WHO your vote is for
The European Parliament is made of 766 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), with each of the 27 member states being allocated a number of seats depending on the size of the country’s population.
20 Swedish MEPs are to be elected to the European Parliament in 2014. Voters can vote for a political party or for a candidate that appears on the ballot papers, which is called preferential voting. Sweden constitutes a single constituency for elections to the European Parliament. This means that its MEPs do not represent a particular area of Sweden.
The 20 European Parliament seats for Sweden are therefore allocated proportionally to the parties according to how much of the national vote they receive. The actual candidates from each party are then selected based on how high their party has placed them on their lists or if they secured preferential votes.
Parties must obtain at least 4% of the total number of votes cast at national level to qualify for the allocation of seats.
WHAT your vote is for
The European Parliament passes legislation on a vast range of issues including consumer protection laws such as mobile phone costs and food labeling in supermarkets, environmental issues such as carbon emission taxes, the internet, agriculture and the movement of people and control of external borders.
Approximately 70% of EU legislation is implemented at local and regional levels. The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions estimates that EU policies affect around two thirds of the issues that are on the municipal agenda.
These include rules on how many hours per week people should work and how local government makes major purchases.
HOW to vote
If you are eligible to vote for the national and two local elections, and in the case of the EU elections you have returned the application form to be listed on the electoral roll, a voting card will be automatically sent out to you prior to the election.
Voting takes place at a polling station. There will be one of these in each electoral district. The exact location of the relevant polling station will be stated on the voting card. Polling stations are normally open between 8am and 8pm (9pm for elections to the European Parliament).
You must prove your identity at the polling station in order to vote. You can do this by show your ID card. You do not need to show your voting card in order to vote at a polling station on Election Day, although a voting card makes the voting process easier.
A voter who for some reason cannot vote at her/his polling station on Election Day may vote in advance at a voting place anywhere in Sweden. Advance voting begins 18 days before Election Day.
At some hospitals and other nursing institutions election committees arrange the receiving of votes for voters wishing to cast their votes there e.g. patients, staff or visitors.
A person voting in an advance voting place must produce her/his voting card and be able to identify herself/himself or otherwise confirm her/his identity.
Voting by messenger
Voting by messenger means that another voter takes an individual’s vote to a polling station or to a voting place for advance voting. Any individual who, because of illness, physical disability or age, cannot personally go to a polling station or voting place may vote by messenger.
Special material is required for voting by messenger. This material may be ordered from the Election Authority or from the municipality and includes instructions on how to proceed. Certain municipalities appoint messengers to act for voters who have no one that can help them.
Everyone who lives along a route serviced by rural mail carriers may use them as voting messengers. Rural mail carriers are equipped with the material necessary for voting by messenger.
Voting at diplomatic missions abroad
Anyone who is abroad during the voting period may vote at any Swedish mission abroad that provides such a service.
The Election Authority decides, after receiving proposals from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, at which Swedish diplomatic missions abroad votes may be received. Voting begins 24 days before Election Day and in some places may take place only for a short period of time.
Voting must cease long enough before the election to enable votes cast to reach the Swedish Election Authority no later than the day before Election Day.
Postal voting from abroad
Individuals who are entitled to vote and are abroad may vote by post from all the countries in the world. Seafarers on ships in international traffic may also vote by post. Postal votes may not be sent earlier than 45 days before Election Day or later than Election Day.
Special material is required for postal voting. The material may be ordered from the Election Authority or from a mission abroad. Postal votes must be posted abroad and have been received by the voter’s municipality by the Wednesday Vote Count at the latest.
Much of the above information comes from the Swedish Electoral Authorities website, available in Swedish, English and the national minority languages. For info on voting for your own countries MEPs, contact your embassy.
Featured Image: Rock Cohen/Flickr (file)