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Yle's "election machine" opens for business

Local elections are due on 9 April, and Yle's coverage is well underway. On Thursday the company published videos and information about more than 12,000 candidates nationwide—and a way for voters to find one that matches their views.

Municipal Elections 2017
Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

Yle's 'election machine' has helped voters find candidates for more than twenty years, and this year there's a new twist: a two-minute video for each participating candidate to outline their responses to a range of questions.

The machine works by asking 30 questions divided into different topic areas such as values, education, daily life, money, care and 'home', which covers municipality-specific questions.

Candidates were asked for a grade on a five-point scale from 'agree completely' to 'disagree completely' with a statement in each question. Voters then take the exact same survey and the machine suggests the candidates in their municipality who most closely align with their views.

Unexpected suggestions

Yle producer Juho Salminen says that the machine can help voters decide, but also sometimes surprises them.

"Sure some are also confused because the machine can offer candidates they weren't expecting," said Salminen. "You can think of the machine as a service where council candidates can be researched and compared. Candidates have the chance to write free-form information on their views in the 'additional information' box, to justify their answers. As a data bank the Yle election machine is a unique service every election."

In all there are some 30,000 candidates running for office this April. Not every candidate is featured in the election machine, however. Some 17,000 have started to answer, but 5,000 have not yet given permission to publish their responses.

Info in English

This time round, every candidate has the chance to upload a video to Yle's 'election gallery', answering the same three questions, allowing voters to get a feel for their presentation style.

The election machine is entirely in Finnish, but Yle News will be covering each party in some detail ahead of the elections. We'll also host an election debate that will be streamed online on 22 March.

Most foreigners officially resident in Finland can vote in the municipal elections, and it's possible to check by calling your local Registry Office.

English language information about the main parties can be found here:

Social Democratic Party

National Coalition Party

Green Party

Centre Party

Finns Party

Left Alliance

Christian Democrats

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