Published: 16 August 2022

Election security

Election security is an umbrella term for the systematic measures taken by the Swedish Election Authority to protect the activities that have to be carried out under the Elections Act and other election regulations. These measures include operational and security protection as well as protection against accidents, information security, crisis preparedness and continuity management.

The Swedish Election Authority is working to strengthen the protection of general elections in Sweden as a result of the following: global trends and developments; an increased threat to the conduct of elections; earlier attempts to influence events in order to damage trust in the electoral process; and an increase in reported incidents during previous elections.

In assessing the risk of threats, sabotage and disinformation aimed at the conduct of general elections since the 2018 elections, the Swedish Security Service (“Säkerhetspolisen”) and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (“Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap”, MSB) consider this risk to have increased.

Any attempt to influence the conduct of elections is illegal, and may lead to fines or imprisonment.

Strengthened protection for the 2022 elections

In early 2020, the Swedish Election Authority initiated a project to strengthen the protection of general elections, with a particular focus on protecting the conduct of elections from antagonistic threats.

Examples of antagonistic threats against general elections include influence exerted by a foreign power, and the prevention or discouragement of voters from voting. Other examples include threats to election workers and attempts to undermine trust in the conduct of elections – for example, by spreading false rumours about when, how and where elections will be carried out.

Antagonists commonly aim to reduce the will and ability of voters to vote, to sabotage or hinder the conduct of elections, or to damage trust in the conduct of elections.

This project will run until the end of 2022, and is being carried out with support from MSB and the Swedish Government’s funding allocation “Appropriation 2:4 Emergency Preparedness”

In order to provide the Swedish Election Authority with more in-depth knowledge of effective preparations and protective measures, as well as the capacity for operational management in the conduct of general elections, we have:

  • produced an introductory training course on election security and held follow-up workshops for all of Sweden’s municipalities and county administrative boards
  • updated handbooks and other training materials with advice and recommendations regarding election security
  • developed a method for analysing public authorities’ protection needs, and issued guidelines
  • developed a training course for poll clerks on conduct and security

The Swedish Election Authority is also working to strengthen national incident management during 2022, and we will issue national situation reports in connection with the conduct of the elections.