The 2013 General Elections in Norway
In 2013, there will be elections to the Storting and the Sami Assembly. Election Day is Monday 9 September 2013. In order to be eligible to vote in Parliamentary elections, you must be a Norwegian national and registered as an elector in a municipality.
The Norwegian electoral system is based on the principles of direct election and proportional representation in multi-member constituencies. Direct election means that the electors vote directly for representatives of their constituency by giving their vote to an electoral list.
Proportional representation means that the representatives are distributed according to the proportion of the totalt vote each individual electoral lists receives. Both political parties and other groups can put up lists at elections.
Electoral divisions and number of seats
For general elections the country is divided into 19 constituencies corresponding to the counties. This includes the municipal authority of Oslo which is a county in its own right. The total number of seats in the Storting is 169. The number of members to be returned from each constituency depends on a complex calculation that takes into account both the population and area of the county. Of the 169 members returned, 150 are elected as constituency representatives. The remaining 19, one seat from each constituency, are elected at large. The aim here is to make the overall results more proportional by countering any distortions in the constituency results.
Qualification of electors
All Norwegian nationals who will have reached the age of 18 by the end of the election year are qualified to vote at general elections. Nationals from the Nordic countries (Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland) are qualified to vote at local government elections if they were registered as resident in Norway no later than 30 June in the year of election. Other foreign nationals are qualified to vote at local government elections if they have been registered at the Population Registry as resident in Norway for a continuous period of three years immediately prior to Election Day.
The Ministry of local government and regional development has overall responsibility for general elections, but municipal authorities are responsible for the practical conduct of all elections. Each municipal council elects an Electoral Committee, which is responsible for the conduct of elections in its own municipal authority area.
Polling on Election Day
On Election Day, electors may only cast their vote in the municipality where they are registered to vote. The Electoral Committee determines how many polling districts the municipal authority area shall be divided into, and consequently how many polling stations there shall be. The municipal authorities may decide that elections shall also be held on the Sunday before the official Election Day. The Electoral Committee announces to the electors in the municipal authority area when and where polling is to take place on Election Day. No polling stations may remain open later than 9.00 pm on Election Day.
Polling normally takes place in the following manner
1. The elector goes to a discrete polling booth where he or she can fill out the ballot paper unobserved.
2. The elector takes the ballot paper of the party or group for which he or she wishes to vote and makes any changes that he or she might wish.
3. The elector folds the ballot paper so that nobody can see how he or she has voted and goes to an election official, who stamps the ballot paper.
4. The elector then puts the ballot paper into the ballot box.
5. Any person who votes shall be crossed off in the register of electors. The election official checks that the elector is listed in the register of electors and that he or she has not been crossed off as having already voted. The elector shall produce proof of identity. The crossing off in the register of electors must take place before electors put their ballot papers into the ballot box.
Voting in advance
Electors may vote in advance. Advance voting takes place in the period from 1 July in the year of the election and up to the last Friday before Election Day. When voting in advance, the elector is personally responsible for voting at such time as permits the ballot to reach the Electoral Committee no later than 9.00 pm on Election Day.
Electors who are abroad can also cast their ballots at the election. This must be done in advance, however. Voting Abroad may take place up to and including the next- to- last Friday before Election Day.