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Early voting turnout reaches 16 percent

Nearly one in five eligible voters have so far cast their ballots during the advance voting period for regional healthcare assemblies.

County election ballot cards. Image: Petri Niemi / Yle

By Sunday evening, some 16.3 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballot in Finland's regional election with the advance voting period remaining open until Tuesday.

This amounts to about 640,500 votes cast so far in Finland's historic, first-ever county council poll.

Residents in South Savo were the most eager to cast early votes, with one in five people in the region already opting for their preferred candidates.

Voters are choosing delegates for newly-formed county councils, which will oversee social, healthcare and emergency services from the beginning of 2023.

Residents of Helsinki are not voting in this election, as the city will continue to arrange and provide social, healthcare and emergency services in the capital region without forming a special wellbeing services county.

A poll published last month suggested that voter turnout in the election may struggle to reach 40 percent.

More than 10,000 candidates are running in the regional elections.

Election day proper is Sunday, 23 January, and foreigners in Finland are eligible to vote.

Advance voting was open from 12 to 18 January in Finland.

Yle News' most recent episode of the All Points North podcast asks if Finland's voters care about healthcare.

You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Apple Podcasts (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or on your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.