How many foreigners can vote in Denmark’s local elections?

If you are a foreign resident in Denmark, you are likely to be able to have a say in upcoming municipal and regional elections – regardless of whether you are an EU national.

Local election placards in Denmark. Over 400,000 foreign residents are eligible to vote in the elections, including many from outside the EU.
Local election placards in Denmark. Over 400,000 foreign residents are eligible to vote in the elections, including many from outside the EU. Photo: Keld Navntoft/Ritzau Scanpix

Over 400,000 foreign citizens who live in Denmark – 414,419 to be exact – are eligible to vote in municipal and regional elections on November 16th, according to figures from the interior ministry.

Of the 414,419 international residents who can vote, 221,331 are from EU or Nordic countries. As such, 193,088 non-EU and Nordic residents are also eligible to vote.

The total number of eligible voters (Danes plus foreigners) for the elections is 4,675,225, according to the ministry figures, which were correct as of November 1st.

This means foreign residents account for around 1 in 11 eligible voters.

Unlike in general elections – in which only Danish citizens can vote – EU, Norwegian and Icelandic citizens over the age of 18 with a permanent address in Denmark are entitled to vote in municipal and regional elections.

Additionally, foreign citizens over 18 who have residency permits and have lived in Denmark for four years or more prior to the date of the election also qualify to take part in the poll.

British citizens who registered as resident in Denmark no later than January 31st, 2020 and have lived in the country continually since then also have the right to vote.

UK nationals who registered residence in Denmark after this date (and thereby after the UK left the EU) must fulfil the requirement to have lived in Denmark for at least four years to be able to vote in the local elections.

READ ALSO: How to vote as a foreign resident in Denmark’s local elections

Despite the high number of foreign residents who can vote in local Danish elections, a much lower proportion of foreigners cast ballots compared to Danes.

At the 2017 municipal elections, only 32.1 percent of eligible foreign residents voted, compared 74 percent of Danes. That gave an overall turnout of 70.6 percent.

Those numbers come from an analysis from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Political Science.

Denmark residents from newer EU countries, including Romania and Bulgaria, were among the nationalities with the lowest turnout, the analysis found.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Centre-left party quits talks to form centrist Danish government

The Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti, SF) on Wednesday withdrew from talks to form a new Danish government as a collaboration between the two largest parties draws closer.

Centre-left party quits talks to form centrist Danish government

SF leader Pia Olsen Dyhr confirmed to newspaper Politiken that her party was out of talks to form Denmark’s next government, which have been ongoing since the election on November 1st.

Dyhr said talks had “become too blue”, meaning conservative, in an apparent reference to the likely coming together of the Social Democrats and their erstwhile rivals on the right, the Liberal (Venstre) party, in a government agreement.

READ ALSO: Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats

Although its name invokes socialism, SF is better described as a social democratic party ideologically and was the party closest aligned with the Social Democrats, which governed Denmark in the previous election period from 2019 until November’s election.

SF and other left-wing parties propped up incumbent prime minister Mette Frederiksen’s minority government during the period, but Frederiksen now wants to work with parties to the right of the Social Democrats and across the political centre.

“These have been constructive negotiations but we are too far from each other on crucial points. This is the case when it comes to climate and nature,” Dyhr said.

“The Liberals are pulling in a different direction because they are close to the agricultural sector. And things are too blue when it comes to the underprivileged,” she said.

“These are some of the things we have fought for at the negotiation table and we have really not seen much movement in relation to [helping] the poorest families,” she said.

Some 11 elected parties have taken part in the talks with Frederiksen, who was nominated as the “royal investigator” or kongelig undersøger to lead negotiations to form government after the Social Democrats won the largest vote share at the election.

Five now remain: the Liberals, the centre-left Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) and the centrist Moderates, along with right wing parties Liberal Alliance and the Danish People’s Party.

Although the two former parties have not technically left the negotiations, they have not recently been summoned for new talks.

READ ALSO: How close is Denmark to getting a new government?