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Local elections: Voters in Denmark (including foreigners) to receive ballots this week

Denmark on Monday commenced delivery of some 4.6 million election ballots for the upcoming regional and municipal elections on November 16th.

Local election placards in Køge. Some 4.6 million voters -- including over 400,000 eligible foreign residents -- will receive their ballots this week.
Local election placards in Køge. Some 4.6 million voters -- including over 400,000 eligible foreign residents -- will receive their ballots this week. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish postal service PostNord confirmed in a statement that ballots were now being sent out.

“This is a very big job. It’s three times as big (as the workload) in a normal week,” PostNord’s head of Mail Operation & Last Mile Thomas Lauritzen told news wire Ritzau.

“Members of the public can expect election ballots to land from today, Monday, and we are banking on having delivered the last ones by Thursday afternoon,” Lauritzen added.

Over 400,000 foreign citizens who live in Denmark – 414,419 to be exact – are eligible to vote in the 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.

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.

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The post service said those waiting to receive ballots should ensure their names are correctly displayed on post boxes to ensure correct receipt of election ballots.

“We make sure that the name on the post box matches the ballot to be delivered in people’s post boxes,” Lauritzen said.

“It is therefore incredibly important for us that our customers make sure names on post boxes are correct,” he added.

People who are voting for the first time in the elections – around 200,000 in total – will also be provided with a copy of the Danish constitution alongside their election ballots.

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POLITICS

Danish party’s historic TV ad ‘possibly illegal’

A Danish political party may have broken the law by having a commercial for its election campaign broadcast during a football match, according to an expert.

Danish party’s historic TV ad ‘possibly illegal’

Party political television commercials are not permitted in Denmark, making an ad for the Liberal Alliance party, which appeared during the UEFA Champions League tie between Manchester City and FC Copenhagen on Wednesday, a remarkable first in Danish politics.

In the ad, the libertarian party depicts a taxpayer calling the Danish tax services and struggling to resolve a problem.

By voting for Liberal Alliance, less bureaucracy would mean such a situation can be avoided, the party argues in the commercial.

But the ad is likely to be illegal in Denmark according to professor in marketing law at Copenhagen Business School Jan Trzaskowski.

“I find it hard to see how this could be legal. The rules are relatively clear when it comes to radio and TV,” Trzaskowski told news wire Ritzau.

The political commercial was shown on channel TV3+. Political advertisement is not permitted in Denmark on either commercial or non-commercial channels.

Liberal Alliance leader Alex Vanopslagh said on Wednesday that the ad had not broken the law because TV3+ is broadcast from Sweden.

But the loophole, known as the “broadcasting country principle”, does not apply in this case according to Trzaskowski.

“The basis [of the principle] is that if you have a broadcasting business established in a country, you only need to comply with the laws there,” he said.

“But that only applies with regard to what is harmonised with the [legal] directive. And political commercials are not,” he said.

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