Swedes are most active voters in Barents Region

Elections to the regional parliament in Finnmark, Norway, in 2015.

While election turnout in the neighboring countries is in serious decline, the Swedes still go massively to the polls.   


According to statistics from Patchwork Barents, the latest elections to the national, regional and local legislative assemblies in Sweden had a voter turnout over eighty percent, which is considerably higher than in Norway, Finland and Russia. 

In 2014, when the latest Riksdag elections took place, 86.5 percent of the electorate in Norrbotten County took part in the national parliament elections, whereas in Västerbotten, the figure was 87.6 percent. The turnout was also high in regional parliament elections: 82.8 percent in Norrbotten, and 84.0 percent in Västerbotten, which has become the highest figure since 2002. On the local level, the figures were 83.1 and 84.5 percent, correspondingly.

Citizens in Barents Finland are active voters as well. The latest elections to the national parliament, in April, which made Juha Sipilä from the oppositional Center party the new prime minister, gathered 62.3 percent of the electorate in Lapland and 65.0 percent of the voters in Northern Ostrobothnia. Local elections, however, are less popular in Finland: the latest (2012) turnout figures for Lapland and Northern Ostrobothnia were 60.6 and 56.5 percent.

In Norway, regional and local elections took place this September. According to NRK, the local election turnout in Nordland, Troms and Finnmark was 59.8, 58.9 and 58.1 percent, respectively. This was a significant decline from the previous election round, held in 2011, which gathered a turnout of 63.4 percent, 64.6 percent and 61.7 percent voters in the three counties. In fact, Northern Norway registered a record low election turnout this year.

National elections are much more popular among Norwegian voters. In 2013, 74.6 percent of the electorate in Nordland, 74.8 percent in Troms and 71.3 percent in Finnmark took part in the elections.

Russia held its latest “single voting day” day one day prior to the Norwegian elections this year, on September 13. In Arkhangelsk Oblast, only 20.99 percent of the electorate participated in the gubernatorial elections. Igor Orlov, who has served as governor since 2012, won 53.28 percent of the votes. In Murmansk Oblast, the average turnout throughout the regional elections was 23.10 percent, as previously reported by the Barents Observer earlier with reference to local media.

With the exception of the single voting day, elections to the regional legislative bodies in Russia are held in different years in each region.

In Nenets AO, 37.23 percent of the electorate participated in the elections to the regional legislative assembly held in 2014, shows data from Patchwork Barents. Elections held in the Republic of Karelia in 2011, gathered a turnout of 44.4 percent. In the Komi Republic in 2015, this figure was 44.2 percent.

This story is published in cooperation with Patchwork Barents.