County elections on 23 January: Yle election compass helps you choose a candidate

Yle's county election compass, available in six languages, helps you match your views with those of suitable candidates ahead of the 23 January vote.

The election compass is available in six languages including English. Image: Yle

Finland's first-ever county elections will be held three weeks from now, on January 23. Advance voting begins next week. On Tuesday Yle unveiled its election compass, which helps voters find like-minded candidates in a variety of languages including English.

You can access the compass here (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

Residents of most of Finland will select county councillors from a field of more than 10,000 candidates. Members of the 21 new regional assemblies will decide on how social, health and rescue services are organised in the future wellbeing services counties.

Residents of Helsinki and the autonomous archipelago of Åland cannot vote in these elections, as these areas will continue to arrange their own services, and are not covered by the healthcare and social services reform (known in Finnish as sote).

Candidates who participated in the compass were asked to comment on statements about core values, service organisation, prioritisation, spending and local sote issues in each wellbeing services county.

The compass also provides more information about the candidates, including their campaign priorities, political and professional experience, potential income from social and health companies, sources of campaign funding and links to their social media accounts and other sites.

The questions were compiled by a team of Yle journalists with input from experts and Yle website visitors.

The compass can be accessed in an array of languages including English, Russian and Arabic. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Electoral compasses provide an important source of information in making a voting decision. Yle's election compass is aimed at helping voters get to know the candidates. Ahead of municipal elections in 2021, Yle's multilingual election compass was used almost two million times.

This year, Yle's County Election compass is available in six languages: Finnish, Swedish, English, Northern Sámi, Russian and, for the first time, Arabic.

Yle has partnered with the following media outlets on the project: Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, Västra Nyland, Landsbygdens Folk, Faktabaari, Östnyland, Hufvudstadsbladet, HSSS Media and Åbo Underrättelser. These outlets may use Yle's election machine in their own services, possibly adding more questions.

On Tuesday evening leaders of all parties in Parliament will take part in a debate, starting at 9 pm on Yle TV1 and online via Yle Areena. The 90-minute broadcast will examine each party's election promises and view on local services, the status and salaries of caregivers, and other key election issues.

Many non-citizens eligible to vote

County elections will be held on Sunday, 23 January, 2022. Advance voting takes place from 12 to 18 January. The advance balloting period for eligible voters abroad is 12-15 January.

Voter eligibility in county elections is the same as for municipal elections, except that it does not cover residents of Åland or Helsinki. Anyone aged 18 or over may cast a ballot if they are a citizen of any EU country, Iceland or Norway or have been a permanent resident of a Finnish municipality 51 days before the election day and have been a permanent resident in Finland for an uninterrupted period of at least two years.

More details are available in English from the Justice Ministry's official election website (siirryt toiseen palveluun) and from the Yle News county council elections guide.