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

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
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.

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.


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