Tag Archives: election

Voting in Denmark

Being an EU citizen living in Denmark I get the right to vote in local elections (though not national elections) as soon as I get registered here. I really believe that if you get the opportunity to vote you should, as this is one of the (few) ways you can get your voice heard. Useless complaining afterwards if you didn’t bother to make an effort to vote in the first place.

Updating my Political Knowledge

I am used to a mainly 2-party system, so getting my head around all the different parties and all the different politicians was a bit overwhelming at first. I tried to read up, though most information was available only in Danish (and maybe in German). Luckily, the university organised a debate in English, so I took the opportunity to learn a bit about the parties represented there. Slowly I started to separate the parties out. I’m nowhere near clear what all the different parties stand for, but I have a much better grip on it than I did a few months ago. Watching Borgen and Michael telling me how real-life parties are similar to Borgen-parties also helped!

Election Day

We arrived at the polling station (the library) and was surprised to see a bit of a queue forming. Where I normally vote there are maybe 2-3 people maximum in front of me. Here there were around 20-25. Voting was held in a big room, with around 10-15 polling booths, unlike the 3 I am used to. Therefore, the queue moved quickly (less than 5 minute wait).

I was quite surprised a the informality of it all. There was no ‘proving of identity’. Since I wasn’t sure what was needed I took my driving license, my national ID card, and my passport – just in case. But they only asked me for my date of birth. It could have very easily have been someone else with my voting document as there was no picture. Didn’t feel that was very secure, but if it works and speeds things up, I will trust in their judgement. Another thing was that, unlike in Malta where you only enter the polling booth room when there is an empty polling booth, here you are given the voting document and then wait till a polling booth gets empty, when it becomes a free for all: whoever gets to the polling booth first gets to go in :D.

Another surprise was the length of the ballot. Having 17 parties for the local council election, with many candidates on each list, the ballot was LONG. Once you get the document and grab a polling booth you then get to vote. Having seen the length of the ballot, the tinyness of the tables on which to vote was, however, quite comical!

Photo by HelleHappy

How do I vote?

Once we got to the queue I realised that there must be a lot I didn’t know about what to do in the polling booth itself! In Malta there is always an information campaign telling us what needs to be done. I didn’t come across anything here. To be honest, the system here is much easier: You only get to vote for one person or party, and you just mark it with an ‘X’.

The Outcome

I am used to elections on a Saturday, where I spend the day listening to election news and keeping track of what is going on. Election being held on a work day meant that I missed out on this part, so it was only after work that I could keep myself updated by the progress.

Counted was completed for Sønderborg kommune around 11:15 pm, so that is around 3 hrs after polling booths were closed. We now have a Social Democrat mayor, which is a change from the Fælleslisten mayor we had after the previous election. The complete list of elected candidates can be found here.




Election is coming and you should vote

Local and regional council elections are coming up on Tuesday 19th of November and you should vote – yes you!

You get to vote on two things:

  • The local council (Kommunalbestyrelsen) that makes decisions about things like schools, roads, planning, culture.
  • The regional council (Regionsrådet) that makes decisions about higher education and health care.

Who can vote?

You are able to vote in local and regional elections if you are over 18, reside permanently in Denmark and if one of these apply to you. You:

  • Are a Danish citizen with an address in Denmark
  • Are a non-citizen who has lived in Denmark for the three years leading up to the election
  • Are a citizen of a EU country, Iceland or Norway, living in Denmark

So for instance if you have studied here for more than three years or are an EU national who just moved here to work – then you can vote in this election.

How can I vote?

You might be surprised to know that you can already go vote today. From the 20th August to the 16th November you can “vote by letter“. That means you can go to the Borgerservice office, show passport and the yellow sygesikring and give your vote. If you are out of the country you can also go to a Danish embassy or consulate to vote in this way.
Most people vote on the day of the election – Tuesday 19th of November. Depending on where you live you have to go to a specific location to vote. Here is a map of the voting places in Sonderborg Kommune. You can vote from 9am to 8pm on the day so you should be able to make it before or after work.
Screen shot 2013-09-08 at 8.05.25 PM
Bring your voting card (valgkort) that arrives in the mail and some ID (sygesikring, passport or EU driving license). On your voting card it will say which table you should go to collect your ballot.
Once you getting your ballots (one for city and one for region council) you step into an enclosed space with a small table and a pencil. You have to go in here on your own to ensure that you cast your vote in private. The voting ballot will be long with approximately 100 names on it. You need to put one (1) X next to either a party or a person. If you make a mistake you can get a new ballot.
Once your ballots are filled out you put them in the voting box and you are done.
Who can I vote for?

In Denmark you can vote for either a person or a party. Here is a page where you can see the results of last election in 2009.

The final list of candidates and parties is announced on October 22nd. In Sønderborg the parties you can vote for are:

Why should I vote?

Sønderborg City Council manages a yearly budget of 4.7 billion DKK regarding the kommune and in the election your vote is they way you can influence how this money should be used.