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Ballot irregularities keep Sweden on edge

TT/The Local · 23 Sep 2010, 12:00

Published: 23 Sep 2010 12:00 GMT+02:00

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Following the first count of all the votes, including advance and overseas postal votes, the Alliance remained 297 votes shy of achieving a majority of votes cast.

According to preliminary results, the four centre-right Alliance parties received 2,929,771 votes, while the three centre-left parties of the Red-Green coalition received 2,591,827.

In addition, 338,241 ballots were case for the Sweden Democrats.

But a number of ballot counting irregularities have been revealed which could yet tip the election results.

In Värmland around 50 votes were classified as invalid for reasons that remain unclear. And when the municipality of Arvika, located in Värmland county, dropped off its ballots to the county administrative board in Karlstad, a stack of loose ballots which were declared invalid also turned up, along with a list of explanations for the nullifications.

However election official Gith Nilsson is critical of some of the explanations.

“Certain reasons are certainly correct there are a number which give me pause,” she told the TT news agency.

“For example, one of the reasons was that the ballot envelope wasn’t fully sealed, and I don’t think that’s sufficient reason to disqualify a ballot.”

The disqualified votes could potentially sway the final election results, as the Alliance missed a seat in the Värmland voting district by just seven votes.

“Because the municipality didn’t have them in the container, we can’t include them in the election results, forcing us to disqualify them because only ballots inside the container can be counted,” said Nilsson, who added she’s unsure what will happen next.

“There’s a possibility to contest the results, but then one has to turn to the Election Review Board (Valprövningsnämnden).”

The Review Board can nullify an election and arrange new elections if mistakes were made that are considered to have affected the outcome. Anyone wishing to appeal something about the Riksdag vote has ten days to file a complaint with the Board.

Ballot counting issues have also occurred in other locations around Sweden, according to the Expressen newspaper.

Among them include 200 uncounted advance ballots in Halmstad municipality in western Sweden.

Story continues below…

“There were approximately 200 advance ballots which we didn’t deliver to the right municipality at the right time,” Halmstad election committee chair Lars-Erik Blank told the newspaper.

The municipality was subsequently told by the county administrative board to not count 200 votes and instead file them away.

According to preliminary figures, Sweden’s voter participation increased to 84.6 percent in the 2010 elections, compared with 82 percent in 2006.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:36 September 23, 2010 by zooeden
Yeah well, the terms were crystal clear, if they turned late 200 votes cause they forgot them then forget it, they are invalid; Who can forget them???? five persons in charge??? all those kind of mistakes should invalidate counts for one simple reason: Be aware of the importance of the vote and hence your job at the voting count!!!! even if those 200 or 50 votes would take out the idiots of Jimmie they should be invalidated.

Be serious at the voting and the counting we´re not in Venezuela!!!
12:37 September 23, 2010 by calebian22
and so it begins.
13:44 September 23, 2010 by glamelixir

where are you from?
14:17 September 23, 2010 by Protonius
What? Ignore those ballots that THE ELECTION OFFICIALS THEMSELVES "didn't deliver to the right municipality at the right time"? Absolutely NOT!

This was not a case of the VOTERS failing to follow the rules; it was a case of the OFFICIALS THEMSELVES failing to follow the rules. That -- even if it happened by accident -- is tantamount to an ILLEGITIMATE (and therefore INVALID) DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF PEOPLE'S VOTES AND OF THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE.

Furthermore, even if those officials erroneously delivered the ballots to the wrong place, the fact that those officials HAD THOSE BALLOTS IN THEIR POSSESSION WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED TIME-FRAME FOR THE CASTING OF VOTES means that those votes MUST be considered as VALID and MUST be COUNTED.

Otherwise, to "throw out" those votes would be to INVALIDATE THE ENTIRE ELECTION PROCESS.
14:37 September 23, 2010 by bolababu
if voters don't turn out, they complain, seems to me that some hundreds of people's precious time that could have been spent doing other productive things have just been wasted, shame.
15:36 September 23, 2010 by CanisTrigger
Irregularities in Sweden? Oh my... What's the world coming to?!
16:35 September 23, 2010 by Robertomuga
I think that its time to form a coalition government , jut like in Germany, and in actually sense the blue block is composed of four parties against red which is only three parties and yet they got quite a significant votes, hence there is a good reason to settle for a coalition government, for the shake of fare principle.
09:07 September 24, 2010 by miss79
i think somebody or someone wants to sabotage sweden..from a nice social welfare good standard country, to a capitalist privatising and heading to evil nazi way
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