Thursday

18th Jan 2018

Focus

Thousands able to vote twice in EU elections

  • Around 8 million EU citizens live in a member state other than their own (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The Swedish election board in Solna should have received a complete data file of Swedish citizens voting in Denmark by 28 April the latest.

It did not arrive.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We must have access to this data 30 days before the day of election to be able to make up our register of electors in time," Hanns Lejsater, an official at the election authority, told Swedish paper Goteborgs-Posten.

Data technician Lars Siljedahl says the authority received some data from Denmark but the last batch only arrived on 15 May – too late.

Nicoline Miller, chief election consultant at the Danish interior ministry, last week said Copenhagen would send data to other member states informing them of which of their nationals were registered for voting in Denmark.

She said the information would be sent "any day soon". It was unclear whether this would be too late.

But the Danes are not the only sinners.

The Swedish election board is missing data about possible double voters from 10 EU countries, mostly the newest members of the EU but also Denmark and the UK.

"In the UK they don't have a central election system, and we can't use the manually picked data we get from them in any way," said technician Lars Siljedahl.

He added that only a third of the data received from other countries is machine readable – that with a correct reference to voters' Swedish ID codes.

Sweden has sent data about some 49,000 cross border EU-citizens to other member states – after the Swedish electoral registers were settled.

"As the countries have different election rules and deadlines our data might also have come too late. This is difficult to administer and we are not really happy with the way this is handled," Siljedahl said.

What then happens to citizens who vote in two member states?

"I can only say that when you applied to be able to vote in Denmark you took an oath only to vote in Denmark," said the Danish interior ministry's Miller in an email.

"In the application you signed it said the sanction for fraud is a fine or imprisonment for four months."

Hanns Lejsäter at the Swedish election board says: "Nothing will really happen. It is forbidden to vote more than once, but not all breaches of law can be sanctioned. In order to do that we would need some kind of at central election board for the whole of EU."

The issue of double voting in the EU election has also been raised in other EU countries.

Dutch paper Algemeen Dagblad recently ran a story on how some 157,000 voters received election cards both from their local authorities in the Netherlands and from their EU countries of origin.

"It's a strange situation that someone can vote twice although it is not allowed. This can be sanctioned with jail or a fine of €4000," Dutch interior minister Ronald Pasterek told NOS TV.

"I've tried to raise this issue with EU colleagues, but they were not interested. Now I will raise the issue again. But it is difficult to disclose who has voted in two countries without tampering with the secrecy of voting," he added.

According to estimates by the European Commission about 8 million EU citizens live in a member state other than their own.

The right to vote in local and EP elections in other member states was introduced in 1993.

It is unknown how many European voters have received more than one voting card.

Markus Bonekamp, head of the European Parliament's information office in Stockholm, says he has not heard of double voters before, but does not believe they will pose a big problem.

"The major problem has been to get people to vote in the first place, not people voting twice," he says.

EU elections under way in Netherlands and UK

The 2014 EU elections got under way in The Netherlands and in the UK on Thursday, with Dutch voters starting at 7.30am local time and British voters at 8am British time.

EU turnout nearly unchanged from 2009

A 0.09 percent increase in the turnout compared to the last EU elections has been celebrated as 'historic', but some experts see a link to the strong anti-establishment vote in many countries.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Next year's EU election at risk of Russian meddling
  2. Hungary to tax NGOs that 'help' migration
  3. Cyprus, Malta, and Russia gang up on whistleblower
  4. 'No backsliding' on Brexit promise, Irish PM warns
  5. Commission and council dig in on GMO opt-outs
  6. Ombudsman asks ECB chief to quit secret bankers group
  7. Polish Nazi-jibe MEP 'spams' EU inboxes
  8. Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  2. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  3. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  4. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  5. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  6. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  7. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  8. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  10. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  12. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap