County elections on 23 January 2022
The first county elections will be held in Finland on Sunday 23 January 2022. A county council for each of the 21 wellbeing services counties will be elected in the elections. The term of the county councils will begin on 1 March 2022 and end on 31 May 2025.
The advance voting period is from 12 to 18 January 2022 in Finland and from 12 to 15 January 2022 abroad. The voting period is, however, shorter than this at many of the advance polling stations abroad.
Voters may only vote for a candidate standing for election in their wellbeing services county. The residents of Helsinki will not vote in the county elections, because Helsinki does not form a wellbeing services county or belong to any of the counties. The City of Helsinki continues to be responsible for organising health, social and rescue services in Helsinki.
Until now, municipalities have been responsible for organising health, social and rescue services, but in future, this responsibility will be assumed by the wellbeing services counties. The wellbeing services counties are autonomous, and the highest decision-making power in each county will be exercised by a county council.
Candidate applications must be submitted by 16.00 on 14 December
Candidate applications must be submitted to the county election boards by 16.00 on 14 December. The county election boards will review the applications and confirm the nomination of candidates on 23 December. Information on the candidates and their candidate numbers will be published on the Electionsfinland.fi website in the evening of 23 December.
Development of COVID-19 epidemic is taken into account in election arrangements
The county elections will be held in January 2022 with the arrangements required by the epidemiological situation. The Ministry of Justice and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) will take the development of the epidemic into account in the practical election arrangements. According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, voting is a low-risk activity.
The Ministry of Justice and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare have drawn up guidelines for election authorities on the safe conduct of elections during COVID-19. If local health authorities issue more detailed instructions, they must be observed.
The Electionsfinland.fi website contains instructions for voters on maintaining health security at the polling stations during COVID-19. Voters must wear a face mask, use hand sanitiser and maintain sufficient physical distance from others at the polling station. Election officials will ensure safety at the polling stations and advise voters on how to follow the instructions.
Voters can contact the central municipal election board of their municipality to ask about the special arrangements.
Notices of right to vote are sent during December
The Digital and Population Data Services Agency will send a notice of right to vote (polling card) to all eligible voters. The notice is accompanied by a list of the advance polling stations near the voter’s place of residence and information about the duties of the wellbeing services counties.
The notices will be sent out on 30 December 2021 at the latest. The notice is sent in electronic format to those eligible voters who have activated the Suomi.fi Messages service and given their consent for all official messages to be sent to them electronically.
It is easy to find out your polling station and wellbeing services county
A list of all advance polling stations is available on the Electionsfinland.fi website of the Ministry of Justice. On election day, 23 January 2022, voters may only vote at the polling station mentioned in the notice of right to vote sent to them. During the advance voting period, voters may vote at any advance polling station.
Voters can obtain information on the addresses and opening hours of polling stations by calling the Elections helpline. Calls to the helpline are free of charge, and service is provided in Finnish (0800 9 4770) and in Swedish (0800 9 4771). Voters can also send election-related questions on WhatsApp (050 438 8730).
The voting register for the 2022 county elections was compiled based on the information contained in the Population Information System on 3 December 2021. The voter’s place of residence determines the wellbeing services county in which the voter is entitled to vote and their election day polling station. Each wellbeing services county has its own candidates, and voters can only vote for the candidates standing for election in their wellbeing services county. If an eligible voter moves after 3 December, the wellbeing services county and the election day polling station are determined based on their previous place of residence. The total number of eligible voters is approximately 3,933,000.
Information on which wellbeing services county each municipality belongs to can be found on the website of the health and social services reform at https://soteuudistus.fi/hyvinvointialueiden-nimet-ja-niihin-kuuluvat-kunnat.
Election results will be published on election day as the vote count progresses
On election day, the progress of the preliminary vote count can be followed online. Information on the number of votes received by each candidate and the number and percentage of votes received by each political party in each wellbeing services county and in the entire country will be published in the Information and Result Service.
Once the recount of votes has been completed, the county election boards will confirm the final election results at their meetings starting at 18.00 on Wednesday 26 January at the latest. The confirmed results will be published on the Electionsfinland.fi website in the evening of 26 January.
Heini Huotarinen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 150 127, [email protected]
Laura Nurminen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 150 008, [email protected]
Arto Jääskeläinen, Director of Electoral Administration, tel. +358 295 150 128, [email protected]
Elina Siljamäki, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 150 248, [email protected]
Wellbeing services counties and their municipalities (in Finnish)
Electionsfinland.fi: Information about elections and voting
Instructions for voters during COVID-19
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare: Coronavirus COVID-19 – Latest Updates
Electionsfinland.fi on Twitter
Electionsfinland.fi on Facebook
Election videos on YouTube
Elections helpline: 0800 9 4770 (in Finnish) and 0800 9 4771 (in Swedish).
WhatsApp service for election-related questions: 050 438 8730