Published: 16 August 2022
Changes to Sweden’s Elections Act (2005:837)
The new legislation is designed to improve voter protection during vote reception and to strengthen the secrecy of the ballot. It makes it clearer to voters that ballot papers and ballot envelopes have to be selected and prepared in private. Further, election committees are now responsible for laying out all the ballot papers in polling stations and other voting locations.
The changes resulting from the new legislation can be summarised as follows:
- It should now be clearer to voters that ballot papers and ballot envelopes have to be selected and prepared in private. Only one voter at a time is allowed behind the polling-booth screen. However, help must be provided upon request to voters with disabilities, for example.
- Swedish election committees and Swedish diplomatic missions abroad are now responsible for laying out all the ballot papers in polling stations and voting locations. This is to prevent sabotage and to make it easier to keep ballot papers in order.
- Voters who do not follow the poll clerks’ instructions may be asked to leave the polling station or voting location temporarily, if this is essential for vote reception to be carried out. This is because every voter has the right to cast their vote in a safe and secure environment.
- The Swedish Election Authority now has explicit responsibility for producing guidance materials for the county administrative boards and election committees prior to each election.
These changes to the Elections Act will be applied for the first time in connection with the elections to the Riksdag and to the regional and municipal councils on 11 September this year. It will also be the first time that ballot paper stands are screened off during elections to the Riksdag and to regional and municipal councils since these legislative changes were introduced and applied for the first time in connection with the 2019 European Parliament election.