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Turnout up in Finnish local election

Advance voting in Finland's municipal election ended on Tuesday with some 26 percent of those entitled to vote having done so. Election day is 9 April, and if the election follows previous voting patterns, turnout could top 60 percent.

Advance voting

Some 1,157,120 people have already cast their ballots in Sunday's local elections. Advance voting closed on Tuesday with some 26 percent of those entitled to vote already having done so.

That's up two percentage points on the last local election in 2012, and if previous patterns are repeated then overall turnout could top 60 percent.

"In the last few elections around 40 percent of votes cast came during advance voting, and on the official election data it was about 60 (percent)," said Sami Borg, an election researcher at Tampere University. "If the same kind of enthusiasm is evident on election day, we'll get above 60 percent turnout."

Borg notes that advance voting is most popular in outlying districts, where it can be difficult to get to polling stations. There are also big differences between the larger cities: in Vantaa just under 20 percent of voters voted in advance, whereas in Tampere more than 28 percent did so.

"Nothing special" for Nordics

Enthusiastic advance voting has ensured that worst-case scenarios of turnout under 50 percent are unlikely to happen, with Borg forecasting eventual turnout to be around the 60 percent mark.

"For the Nordic countries that's nothing special, but it's above average for the EU," said Borg.

At the last municipal elections in 2012, turnout was 58.3 percent.

Most foreigners permanently resident in Finland are eligible to vote in local elections. Voters can still cast their ballots on Sunday 9 April, and you can find a quick guide to voting here.

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