People goes to the polls for Parliament elections on Monday, but results are likely not ready before Tuesday. Computer counting alone is not enough. The Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM) and the Police Security Service (PST) have together with the Directorate of Elections made risk and vulnerability assessments. The government says there are no indications that anyone has attempted to affect the conduct of the elections in any way. However, the government says in a statement, «there are increasing activity and attention, both domestically and internationally, around some of the technical solutions in place. This is in and of itself a source of elevated risk.»
Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of Norway.
It was pouring rain in Oslo and many other Norwegian cities on Election Day Monday. That was at least some consolation, perhaps, for the thousands of permanent Norwegian residents over the age of 18 who couldn’t brave the bad weather and troop to the polls anyway, because they’re not eligible to vote. The newspaper Aftenposten reported recently that there’s now nearly a half-million people in Norway, many of them long-time residents, who are not allowed to vote in the national parliamentary elections that roll around every four years. That’s largely because of Norway’s law against dual citizenship. Even though tens of thousands qualify for citizenship and could readily obtain a Norwegian passport, the law demands that they’d have to give up the citizenship of their birth, and that’s not easy for anyone who maintains ties with their homeland and views their homeland as an important part of their identity.
Norwegians will go to the polls for a final day of voting on Monday in a parliamentary election that remains too close to call between Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s centre-right block and the centre-left opposition headed by the Labour Party. While Solberg’s Conservatives want to cut taxes in a bid to boost growth if they win a fresh mandate, Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere seeks tax hikes to fund better public services. The outcome could also impact Norway’s oil industry, as either Solberg or Gahr Stoere is likely to depend on one or more small parties that seek to impose limits on exploration in Arctic waters off Norway’s northern coast.
Young Norwegians, politicized by the massacre of 77 people by far-right militant Anders Behring Breivik, will play a key role in an election next week that could hinge on issues close to their hearts such as climate change. In 2011 Breivik killed eight people in a bombing in central Oslo and gunned down another 69 at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya Island, in the worst attacks in Norway since World War Two. They motivated a generation of young people, often children or teenagers at the time, to become more involved in mainstream politics – both on the left and the right – in a backlash against his xenophobic and anti-Muslim world view. And data shows young voters are now more likely than in the past to actually cast their ballots. “I felt so powerless that day. It was a way to fight back,” said Anja Ariel Toernes Brekke, 21, who joined the youth wing of the Labour Party a few weeks after Breivik’s attacks. She is now the general secretary of the far-left Red party’s youth wing. “I wanted to prove that the left was not weakened, that there would be people with those beliefs to replace those who had died,” she told Reuters.
As Norwegian voters head into election booths to cast their ballots, state officials have already been working for months to ensure the highest possible security around their choices for Parliament. Some of the security measures now in place may cause some delays in election results early next week, but that’s a risk the officials are willing to take. “We’ll just have to use the time it takes to count up all the ballots,” one local official told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) just after being told on Friday that all municipalities must conduct at least one manual count of all absentee and early voting and those ballots cast on Election Day next Monday. Instead of simply feeding ballots into scanners attached to the Internet, people will also count the votes.
Five tiny political parties could all end up kingmakers in Norway’s parliament after elections on Sept. 11, presenting a risk to Norway’s key oil industry and making it even more difficult to form a government than before. The Greens aiming to shut Norway’s oil industry and the Marxist Red party seeking social justice are among those hoping for influence, as are the more experienced Socialist Left, centrist Liberals and the socially conservative Christian Democrats. Overall, the Nordic nation faces at least ten potential alternatives for minority or majority coalition governments and the outcome of the vote is particularly hard to predict, pollsters say.
Norway: Governments should consider the consequences when they decide whether to adopt Internet voting | Democratic Audit
The secret ballot is largely undisputed as a democratic principle. What this principle means in practice, however, may be contested when voting takes place outside the polling station in a so-called uncontrolled environment, i.e., remote voting including Internet voting, postal voting and telephone voting. Remote voting transfers the responsibility for vote secrecy from the authorities to the voters. The popular understanding of the principle of the secret ballot, therefore, becomes crucial, because this may influence whether voters actually keep their vote secret. The secrecy of the vote has two aspects. First, it requires that voters are able to cast their votes in private, unobserved by anyone. Second, it requires that no one is able to break the anonymity of the vote at a later stage. Even though both aspects are important, we focus on the former. Voter attitudes towards the privacy aspect have received little attention in the literature on remote voting. The secrecy of the vote is usually taken for granted, and questions about this issue are therefore rarely asked in surveys.
An anti-immigration party in Norway’s coalition government headed for its worst election result in 22 years in a local vote on Monday after its opposition to Syrian refugees put it out of step with many voters. The right-wing Progress Party had 9.7 percent with 87 percent of the votes counted, against 16.3 percent in a parliamentary vote in 2013. It was Progress’ worst election since receiving 6.3 percent of the vote in 1993. The election was also a blow to the Conservative Party, the senior partner in the two-party government which came to office in 2013 and has struggled with falling prices of oil, Norway’s main export, and rising unemployment. The Conservatives’ share fell to 22.4 percent, down 5.6 percentage points from four years ago as voters swung left.
Norway’s anti-immigration Progress Party may be facing its worst election result in 20 years in municipal voting on Monday as its hostility to Syrian refugees leaves it out of step with a more welcoming mood in the Nordic nation in the last month or so. Progress has sought to turn the municipal election into a vote on a plan it opposes to take in 8,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2017, arguing that locally elected politicians could simply refuse to accept refugees. The two parties in the right-wing minority government, the Conservatives and Progress, have also lost ground since 2013 parliamentary elections after tax cuts that have mainly benefited the rich.
The Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation has put an end to a pilot project allowing voting on the internet. The main reasons cited are a lack of increase in turnout amid concern that the program could damage confidence in the electoral process. A study performed by the Ministry of the test programs run in their 2011 and 2013 elections shows many conflicting results but, at bottom, the benefits were too slight and the problems too great. Only a summary of the Ministry’s study is available in English. The full study is in Norwegian (PDF). One interesting result was evidence that a small number of voters, 0.75% of all voters, voted twice in 2013. They voted once online and once by conventional paper ballot at a polling station. At the same time, convinced that it is necessary in order to increase disappointing voter participation rates, officials in the US and UK still are pushing for internet voting. As I explained several weeks ago, in the US voting over the internet is creeping in from the bottom up with no real thought being put into the process.