The main features of the Norwegian electoral system

The Norwegian electoral system is based on the principles of direct election and proportional representation in multi-member electoral divisions.

 

Content:

  1. Main principles
    • Direct elections - proportional representation
    • Electoral divisions. Numbers of seats
    • Legislation
  2. The franchise and register of electors
    • Qualification of electors
    • Inclusion in the register of electors
  3. Eligibility and duty to accept election
    • Introduction
    • Parliamentary elections
    • Local government elections
  4. Preparation of the Election
    • Electoral bodies
    • Political parties
    • List proposals
  5. Polling
    • Polling on Election Day
    • Voting in advance
    • Electors' right to make changes on the ballot papers
  6. Counting the votes
    • Provisional count
    • Final count
  7. Determination of the election result
    • Distribution of seats
    • Particular information on the poll at municipal elections
    • Returning of members to the municipal council
    • Returning of members to the county council
    • Returning of members to the Storting
  8. Approval of elections - appeal


1. Main principles 

Direct elections – proportional representation

The Norwegian electoral system is based on the principles of direct election and proportional representation in multi-member electoral divisions. Direct election means that the electors vote directly for representatives of their constituency by giving their vote to an electoral list. Proportional representation means that the representatives are distributed according to the relationship to one another of the individual electoral lists in terms of the number of votes they have received. Both political parties and other groups can put up lists at elections.

Electoral divisions. Number of seats

In the case of parliamentary elections the country is divided into 19 constituencies corresponding to the counties, including the municipal authority of Oslo which is a county of its own. The number of members returned to the Storting is 169. The number of members to be returned from each constituency depends on the population and area of the county. Each inhabitant counts one point, while each square kilometre counts 1.8 points. Of the 169 members returned, 150 are elected as constituency representatives while 19, one seat from each constituency, are elected as members at large.

In the case of local government elections, members are returned to municipal councils and county councils. Each municipal authority area and each county represents one electoral division. The municipal/county council itself lays down the number of members within statutory minimum requirements in relation to the population of the municipal authority area/county. These rules have been incorporated into the Local Government Act.

The electoral term is four years for all elections. Elections to municipal and county councils are conducted at the same time and are held midway in the electoral term of the Storting. Election Day is fixed by the King to a Monday in September, usually in one of the first two weeks of the month.

Legislation

The Constitution has a number of fundamental provisions relating to parliamentary elections. These apply to such matters as the conditions for entitlement to vote and disfranchisement, the number of members of the Storting and the allocation of these to the counties, the method of election, the criteria for eligibility, and review of the validity of the election. The detailed provisions relating to the conduct of elections, to the Storting, to county councils and to municipal councils, are to be found in the Representation of the People Act 2002 (Act No. 57 of 28 June 2002). In addition Regulations have been issued with further provisions in certain areas.

2. The franchise and register of electors

Qualification of electors

Qualified to vote at parliamentary elections is any Norwegian national who reaches the age of 18 by the end of the year of election, and who has at some time been registered at the Population Registry as resident in Norway. The latter qualification does not apply to members of the diplomatic corps or members of the consular service and their households.

Qualified to vote at local government elections is any person who is entitled to vote at parliamentary elections. In addition Nordic nationals (Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland) are qualified to vote if they were registered as resident in Norway no later than 30 June in the year of election. Other foreign nationals are qualified to vote if they have been registered at the Population Registry as resident in Norway for a continuous period of three years immediately prior to Election Day.

Disqualified from voting at all elections is any person who has been disfranchised pursuant to Article 53 of the Constitution. This provision lays down that the franchise may be lost where a person has been convicted of certain criminal offences in the case of which disfranchisement may be included as part of the penalty, for example felonies committed against the independence and security of the state and against our state constitution.

Inclusion in the register of electors

Any person entitled to vote must be included in a municipal register of electors on Election Day. The register of electors is a list of persons in the municipal authority area who are entitled to vote. The electors are entered in the register of electors in the municipal authority area where they were registered with a residential address on 30 June in the year of election. Any person who has been resident outside Norway for a continuous period exceeding 10 years, must apply for inclusion in the register of electors in the municipal authority area in which the person in question was last registered as being resident. This does not apply to those who are members of the diplomatic corps or the consular service or are part of their households.

The draft register of electors shall be on display for public scrutiny until Election Day. Any persons who believe that they themselves or others have been erroneously included in or omitted from the register of electors can demand that the Electoral Committee correct the error. The Electoral Committee shall announce the time and place of display and provide information about the right to demand the correction of any error and the procedure for so doing.

The Election Committee in each municipality ensure that all voters who are included in the electoral register receive a voters card.

3. Eligibility and duty to accept election

Introduction

The basic principle is that any person who is entitled to vote at an election is also eligible and bound to accept election. However, some people are disqualified from election in view of the fact that they hold public office/positions which for reasons of principle ought not to be combined with service as a popularly elected representative. It is also possible to apply for exemption from election on specific conditions.

Parliamentary elections

Any person who is entitled to vote at the election and who is not subject to any legal incapacity or exempt, is eligible and bound to accept election.

Disqualified from election to the Storting are members of staff in the ministries, with the exception of ministers, state secretaries and political advisers; justices of the Supreme Court and members of the diplomatic corps or the consular service.

One can claim exemption from election to the Storting if one is entitled to vote in another constituency than the one in which one has been placed as a candidate on a list proposal, if one was a member of the Storting for the whole of the previous electoral term, or if one has been placed as a candidate on a list proposal that has been put forward by any other persons than a registered political party of which one is a member.

Local government elections

Any person who is entitled to vote at the election and who on Election Day is registered at the Population Registry as resident in the municipal authority area or county area in question, and who is not subject to any legal incapacity or exempt, is eligible and bound to accept election.

Disqualified from election to the municipal/county council are the county governor and assistant county governor, the chief executive of the municipal and county authority respectively and the latter’s deputy as well as the head of a branch of the administration in a municipal or county authority; however the managers of isolated activities are not disqualified. One is also subject to a legal incapacity if one is secretary to the municipal or county council, if one is responsible for the accounts in a municipal or county authority, of if one does the audit for the municipal or county authority.

Any person nominated as a candidate on a list proposal for municipal council election or county council election has the right to be exempted, when giving a written statement that he or she does not want to run for election on that list.

4. Preparation of the election 

Electoral bodies

It is the municipal authority that is responsible for the practical conduct of all elections. In every municipal authority area there shall be an Electoral Committee that is elected by the municipal council. The Electoral Committee is responsible for the conduct of elections in the municipal authority area.

If polling is to take place in two or more places in the municipal authority area, the conduct of the election in each place shall be managed by a polling committee with no fewer than three members.

In the case of parliamentary elections and elections to the county council, each county shall have a County Electoral Committee. The County Electoral Committee is responsible for performing the determination of the election result at county level, that is to say for all the municipal authority areas in the county taken together.

In the case of parliamentary elections there shall in addition be a National Electoral Committee with no fewer than five members. The National Electoral Committee is appointed by the King and is responsible for the calculations and distribution relating to the returning of the 19 members at large. In addition this committee issues credentials to the members returned to the Storting. The National Electoral Committee shall also deal with appeals relating to parliamentary elections.

Political parties

Political parties which so wish may apply to be included in the Register of Political Parties. This register is kept by the Registry Unit in Brønnøysund. Registration is not a requirement for participation in the election. However, by registering a party secures the sole right to submit a list under the registered name of the party. The Representation of the People Act also has provisions that offer certain advantages to parties that are included in the Register of Political Parties when it comes to signatures on the list proposals; for further details, see under “List proposals” below. In the case of parliamentary elections only registered political parties may be allocated seats at large.

The conditions to become a registered political party are stated in the law of 17 June 2005 concerning certain conditions for the political parties.Together with its application for registration, a party must enclose a transcript of the minute book for the meeting at which the party was constituted, information concerning the persons who have been elected to membership of the party’s executive body and who are empowered to represent the party centrally in matters coming under the Representation of the People Act, its Articles of Association laying down which body in the party elects the executive body, and a declaration from no fewer than 5000 persons entitled to vote at parliamentary elections that they wish to have the name of the party registered.

Receipt of an application must have been recorded by the registration authority by 2 January in the year of the election for registration to take effect at the election in the same year.

A party cannot be registered if there is a danger that the name of the party may be confused with that of another party included in the Register of Political Parties or any Sami political unit registered with the Sami Assembly.

List proposals

Both registered political parties and other groups can put up lists at elections. The procedure is that they produce proposals for electoral lists, which are then subject to the approval of the electoral authorities. A list proposal contains the names of the candidates standing for election for the party/group. The list proposal constitutes the basis of what becomes the ballot paper of the party/group.

A list proposal must have been received by the electoral authorities no later than 31 March before 12 o'clock in the year of the election, it must have a heading stating which party or group is behind the proposal, and it must state what candidates are standing for election on the list and their dates of birth. Furthermore it must contain the names of a representative and an alternate whom the electoral authorities may contact if it is necessary to make any changes.

For list proposals from a party included in the Register of Political Parties it is sufficient for it to bear the signatures of two members of the executive committee of the party’s local branch in the county/municipal authority area to which the list applies, provided that at the last parliamentary election the party polled no fewer than 500 votes in one county or no fewer than 5000 votes in the whole country.

For other proposers at parliamentary elections and elections to the county council a list proposal must be signed by no fewer than 500 persons entitled to vote in the county at the election in question. In the case of elections to the municipal council a list proposal must be signed by such number of persons entitled to vote in the municipal authority area as corresponds to 2% of the number of inhabitants entitled to vote at the last election to the municipal council. As a minimum a list proposal shall be signed by as many persons entitled to vote in the municipal authority area as the number of members to be returned to the municipal council. Signatures from 300 persons will in any case be sufficient.

In the case of local government elections the list proposals shall be filled out in sequence with no fewer than 7 names of candidates. As a maximum a proposal may contain such number of names of candidates as corresponds to the number of representatives to be elected to the county/municipal council, with the addition of no more than 6 other names. In the case of parliamentary elections there shall be such number of candidates as there shall be elected representatives from the county, with in addition up to six other names may be put down.

In the case of elections to the municipal council a certain number of the candidates at the top of the list proposal may be given an increased share of the poll. Where this happens, these candidates receive an increase in their personal share of the poll corresponding to 25% of the number of ballot papers cast for the list at the election. Depending on the number of members of the municipal council to be returned, the proposers may give an increased share of the poll to the following numbers of candidates:
 11-23 members:   no more than 4
 25-53 members:   no more than 6
 55 or more members:  no more than 10

The names of candidates who are to receive an increased share of the poll shall appear first on the list proposal and be in boldface.

Any list proposal may be withdrawn no later than 20 April before 12 o'clock in the year of the election.

The list proposals shall be put on display for public scrutiny as they come in. The electoral authority concerned considers whether the list proposals submitted satisfy the statutory requirements and decides whether they shall be approved. Where a list cannot be approved, the electoral authorities shall by means of negotiations with the representatives of the proposal seek to bring the proposal into conformity with statute law.

The electoral authorities shall inform all the candidates on the list proposals that they have been proposed and inform them of the rules applying to exemption from election. A signatory or candidate who appears on two or more list proposals for the same election shall be instructed to give notice within a specified time limit of the list proposal on which he or she wishes to appear. Otherwise the person in question is placed on the list proposal that was handed in first.

No later than 1 June in the year of the election the electoral authorities shall decide whether proposals for electoral lists and any withdrawals of list proposals shall be approved. When the list proposals have been approved, the electoral authorities shall put the official electoral lists on display for public inspection. The electoral authorities announce the headings on the approved electoral lists and provide information as to where they are on display. 

The list proposals constitute the basis of the parties’/groups’ ballot papers. The County Electoral Committee (parliamentary elections and elections to the county council) and the Electoral Committee (elections to the municipal council) are responsible for ensuring that ballot papers are printed before inland voting in advance commences on 10 August. The Representation of the People Regulations contains further provisions relating to the design of ballot papers.

The system prescribed by the Representation of the People Act is basically that elections to the municipal council are conducted according to the principle of proportionally representative elections with two or more electoral lists. However, it is possible that for a particular election only one list is approved, or no list at all. The provisions relating to proportional representation do not suit such a situation. The election must in such cases be conducted as an election by majority ballot, in which the electors, instead of voting for electoral lists, simply vote for individual persons. Elections by majority ballot do occur, but very seldom.

5. Polling

Polling on Election Day

On the Election Day, the electors may only cast their vote in the municipality where they are registered in the register of electors.

The Electoral Committee determines into how many polling districts the municipal authority area shall be divided (how many polling stations there shall be). The municipal authorities may decide that elections shall also be held on the Sunday before the official day of election. The Electoral Committee announces to the electors in the municipal authority area when and where polling is to take place on Election Day. No polling stations may remain open later than 9.00 pm on Election Day.

Out of consideration for the fact that the conduct of the elections shall take place in a reassuring and dignified manner, the Representation of the People Act contains provisions relating to public order which the polling committee is bound to respect. Canvassing is prohibited in the polling station and in any rooms through which an elector must pass to reach the polling station. It is also forbidden to perform any act that might disturb or prevent the normal conduct of the electoral proceedings. It is not permitted to undertake investigations or any similar questioning of voters in the polling station and in any rooms through which an elector must pass to reach the polling station. The chairman or vice-chairman of the polling committee may if necessary remove any person behaving in a manner contrary to these provisions.

Electoral authorities at all levels are bound to keep records. In municipal authority areas with two or more polling places, a minute book shall be kept for each polling place. It is the chairman of the polling committee, Electoral Committee and County Electoral Committee respectively who is responsible for keeping the record. The Ministry lays down by Regulations the requirements that the records must satisfy.

Polling normally takes place in the following manner:

  1. The elector goes to a polling booth where the act of voting shall be performed in a secluded room and unobserved.
  2. The elector takes the ballot paper of the party or group for which he or she wishes to vote and makes any changes that he or she might wish.
  3. The elector folds the ballot paper so that nobody can see how he or she has voted and goes to an election official, who stamps the ballot paper.
  4. The elector then puts the ballot paper into the ballot box.
  5. Any person who votes shall be crossed off in the register of electors. The election official checks that the elector has been included in the register of electors and that he or she has not been crossed off as having already voted. The elector shall produce proof of identity if he or she is not known to the election official. The crossing off in the register of electors must take place before electors put their ballot papers into the ballot box.

Electors who are not registered in the relevant section of the register of electors may also vote. In such cases the ballot paper shall not be placed in the ballot box. After the ballot paper has been stamped, the elector shall in person place it in a ballot paper envelope and give this to an election official. The election official places the ballot paper envelope in a cover envelope, seals it and writes on it the elector’s name, residential address and date of birth. After polling has been concluded at the electoral proceedings, the separate cover envelope is delivered to the Electoral Committee. Before the vote cast can be approved, the Electoral Committee must check that the elector has been included in the register of electors in one of the other polling districts in the municipal authority area and that he or she has not voted in the polling district where he or she is registered.

Electors who need assistance in performing the act of voting may ask the polling committee for necessary help. Any voter with a serious mental or physical disability may choose an extra helper among those persons who are present.

Electors who are not able to get into the polling station may cast their votes immediately outside. In such cases two election officials come out, bringing with them the necessary election materials including a ballot box.

Voting in advance

Electors may vote in advance. Advance voting inland (including Svalbard and Jan Mayen) takes place in the period from 1 July in the year of the election and up to the last Friday before Election Day. The elector is personally responsible for casting an advance vote at such time as permits the ballot cast in advance to reach the Electoral Committee no later than 9.00 pm on Election Day.

It is the municipal authorities that are responsible for receiving the inland advance votes. The Electoral Committee decides in which premises it shall be possible to vote in advance. Typical places are the town hall, the service centre and similar premises. A municipal authority is also bound to receive advance votes cast at health and social welfare institutions in the municipal authority area. Any person who is unable to get to a polling station on account of illness or disability, may apply to the Electoral Committee in the municipal authority area to be permitted to vote at home (ambulatory voting). In the case of ambulatory voting and voting in an institution there shall be no fewer than two returning officers present.

It is possible to vote in advance in any municipal authority area whatsoever in the whole country, i.e. electors can vote in another municipal authority area than the one where they live and where they are included in the register of electors. Their ballot is sent by post to their home municipal authority.

Electors who are abroad can also cast their ballots at the election. However, they must vote in advance. Advance voting abroad and on Svalbard and Jan Mayen commences on 1 July in the year of the election. Abroad the voting can take place up to and including the next to last Friday before the Election Day. On Svalbard, the Governor of Svalbard may decide that the casting of votes shall be terminated earlier than the last Friday before the Election Day. Electors must personally ensure that they vote early enough for their ballots to reach the Electoral Committee by 9.00 pm on Election Day. As a rule advance votes abroad are given to a returning officer at a Norwegian Foreign Service mission. The Ministry may according to need, appoint returning officers in other places.

Electors who have not been resident in Norway the last 10 years before Election Day must apply for inclusion in the register of electors. (This is not necessary for members of the diplomatic corps or the consular service and their households.) An application for inclusion in the register of electors shall contain a declaration that the elector is still a Norwegian national. The Ministry prints an application form for this purpose on the cover envelope for advance voting abroad, but the application may also be made by letter.

Where an elector who is outside the realm has no possibility of getting to a returning officer, he or she may vote by post without the presence of a returning officer at the casting of the ballot. Such electors may themselves see to the voting procedure, either by using material they have obtained from a Foreign Service mission or a returning officer, or by using their own ballot papers and envelopes. A postal vote is deemed to be relevant only in exceptional cases and for electors who would otherwise not have been able to vote. 

Electors’ right to make changes on the ballot papers

At local government elections electors can influence which of the candidates are elected by giving a personal vote to these candidates on the list. They can give a personal vote to as many of the candidates as they wish. This is done by placing a mark (a cross, tick or similar symbol) in a box beside the name(s) of the candidate(s).

In the case of elections to the municipal council it is also possible to add candidates from other lists. This is done by writing the names of these candidates in a separate space on the ballot paper. When an elector gives a personal vote to candidates on other lists, a corresponding proportion of the vote is transferred to the list or lists on which these candidates appear.

In the case of parliamentary elections electors can renumber the order of candidates on the list by putting new numbers in front of the candidates’ names or by crossing out the names of candidates by placing a mark in a box to the right of the candidate’s name.

6. Counting the votes

After polling has been concluded the votes shall be counted. The Electoral Committee in the municipal authority area decides how the count shall be organised and is responsible for ensuring that the count is conducted in accordance with regulations in the case of both parliamentary and local government elections.

At the count it is determined how many electors have voted for each list and how many personal votes the candidates have polled. Ballot papers cast in advance and ballot papers cast at electoral proceedings shall be kept apart and registered separately. The counting of ballot papers takes place in two rounds: a provisional count and a final count.

Preliminary count

The preliminary count is a simplified count at which only routine ballot papers are counted. All the ballot papers in respect of which there is doubt as to whether they may be approved are put on one side. They are not considered until the final count. The ballot papers are arranged according to the heading of the list. The purpose of the preliminary count is to arrive at a rapid preliminary result that can be presented to the public.

The preliminary counting of votes cast on Election Day shall start as soon as the polling stations have closed. The count may be conducted either by the polling committees out in the polling places or centrally in the presence of the Electoral Committee. If the count is to be undertaken at the polling places, there is however a requirement that the relevant section of the register of electors shall contain no fewer than 100 names. The reason for this is consideration for the fact that it shall be possible to keep secret how the individual electors have voted.

When it comes to the votes cast in advance, the general rule is that the preliminary count shall start no later than four hours before the polling stations close. The condition is that such preliminary counting will not be contrary to the principle of a secret ballot. Where only a very small number of advance votes have been approved before Election Day, it may be difficult to ensure the anonymity of these electors with respect to how they have voted. In such cases the count must be postponed until all the advance votes have been approved.

It is forbidden to publish the result of any count and prognoses produced on the basis of investigations undertaken on the day or days on which polling takes place until every polling station in the country has closed at 9.00 pm on Election Day.

Final count

After all the routine ballot papers have been through the provisional count, the Electoral Committee shall conduct the final count. At this count the Electoral Committee shall decide whether ballot papers that were earlier set aside as doubtful, shall be approved or rejected. All the ballot papers are counted again.

At the final count of votes cast at elections to the municipal council, the Electoral Committee registers the changes that electors have made on the ballot papers. This constitutes the basis of the further determination of the election result that the Electoral Committee is to perform.

In the case of parliamentary elections and elections to the county council it is the County Electoral Committee that registers changes electors have made on the ballot papers. In other words, the Electoral Committee’s final count at parliamentary and county elections consists in a consideration of whether votes shall be rejected as well as a new count. After this the ballot papers are sent to the County Electoral Committee which is responsible for determining the result of the election for all the municipal authority areas in the county taken together. The County Electoral Committee shall check the counting performed by the Electoral Committees, which means that the ballot papers shall be counted once more. Where any Electoral Committee has committed an error in counting or with respect to the approval or rejection of votes, the County Electoral Committee shall correct the error. 

All polling committees, Electoral Committees and County Electoral Committees are bound to keep records of all the results of any count, decisions to reject ballot papers etc.

7. Determination of the election result

According to the Representation of the People Act, the Ministry decide every eight year the number of returning seats from each county.

The determination of the result of the election is performed in two rounds. First it is determined how many seats the party/group shall be given (the distribution of seats). The method of calculation is the same for all elections (Sainte-Laguë’s modified method). After this the individual candidates are designated, that is to say those who are to be elected to office from the different lists (the returning of members). The returning of members takes place in different ways depending on which election it is.

In the case of elections to the municipal council the determination of the election result is performed by the Electoral Committee. In the case of parliamentary elections and elections to the county council it is the County Electoral Committee that determines the result.

Distribution of seats

The system is based on the principle that members’ seats shall be allocated proportionally to the parties/groups according to the votes cast for the individual electoral list. This principle is called proportional representation. The allocation of seats to the different lists is carried out by means of the same mathematical method for both parliamentary and local government elections. This method is called Sainte-Laguë’s modified method. This means that the number of votes polled by the individual list is first divided by the figure 1.4 and thereafter by the figures 3, 5, 7, 9 etc. By means of these divisions a number of figures are arrived at, quotients, as they are called. These quotients are arranged according to size. The members’ seats are allocated to the lists that have the largest quotients. The first seat goes to the list that has the largest quotient, seat No. 2 goes to the one that has the second largest quotient and so on.

In the case of parliamentary elections the County Electoral Committee distributes all the seats in the county in accordance with Sainte-Laguë’s modified method with the exception of one. The last seat in each county shall be allocated as a seat at large by the National Electoral Committee. The purpose of this is to bring about a more equitable political distribution of seats than it is possible to achieve through a distribution based purely on electoral divisions.

In the case of parliamentary elections and elections to the county council one finds the total votes polled by a list by adding together the numbers of votes cast for the list in all the municipal authority areas in the county. In other words this is the basis for the divisions mentioned above. See the example in the table below, in which seats are to be allocated to 11 members.

Determination of election result using Sainte Laguë’s modified method

  Conservatives Labour Progress Soc. Left Christian Centre
Total votes 81 140 80 862 39 851 26 295 12 187 11 229
1,4 57 957  (1) 57 758  (2) 28 465  (3) 18 782  (6) 8 705 8 020
3 27 046  (4) 26 954  (5) 13 283  (9) 8 765 4 062 3 743
5 16 228  (7) 16 172  (8) 7 970      
7 11 591  (10) 11 551  (11)        
9 9 015 8 984        

Conservatives get seats Nos. 1, 4, 7 and 10
Labour gets seats Nos. 2, 5, 8 and 11
Party of Progress gets seats Nos. 3 and 9
Socialist Left Party gets seat No. 6

Particular information on the poll at municipal elections

In the case of elections to the municipal council the number of ballot papers is not taken as the basis for the calculations, but the number of list votes. The reason for this is the possibility of giving personal votes to candidates from other lists and the fact that the system involves the transfer of a certain percentage of the vote to the other party.

Every list for the election to the municipal council consists of as many list votes as the number of members to be returned to the municipal council. If 21 members are to be returned, the list consists of 21 list votes. When a voter adds a candidate from a different list, one list vote is at the same time transferred to the list on which the candidate in question appears. Here is an example: 21 members are to be returned. An elector who is voting for the Liberals gives a personal vote to a candidate on the Conservatives’ list. The result is that the elector’s vote gives 20 list votes to the Liberals and 1 list vote to the Conservatives.

The total vote polled by the individual list (the list poll) is thus arrived at by multiplying the number of ballot papers by the number of members who are to be returned to the municipal council. After this, one must add list votes received as a consequence of the fact that those voting for other lists have given personal votes to candidates on the list. Correspondingly one must subtract one list vote for each personal votes the list’s own voters have added. The list poll is afterwards divided by 1.4, 3, 5, 7, 9 and so on. In other respects the distribution of seats follows the same procedure as for county council elections and parliamentary elections.

The adding of candidates from other lists has in practice the greatest significance when it comes to how many personal votes the candidates get and thus when it comes to the returning of members. However, if electors make active use of the possibility of adding candidates from other lists, it may influence the list poll so much that this makes itself felt for the allocation of seats to the lists as well. It is not possible to add more candidates from other lists/transfer more list votes to other lists than a number corresponding to a quarter of the number of members to be returned to the municipal council. It is nevertheless always permissible to add no more than five candidates.  

Returning of members to the municipal council

When it has been decided how many representatives an electoral list shall have, the seats are allocated to the candidates on the list. The returning of members takes place on the basis of the candidates’ personal votes polled. The personal poll is arrived at in the following manner:

Candidates whose names appear in boldface, at the top of the list, get an addition to their personal poll. This addition means an increase in their number of personal votes corresponding to 25 per cent of the number of electors who have voted for the list. If a party has won 100 votes, candidates whose names appear in boldface shall be given 25 personal votes. The party/group behind the list proposal can give an increased share of the poll to a limited number of candidates (compare paragraph about list proposals above) in order to have some possibility of influencing who is elected.

After the increased share of the poll has been calculated, the personal votes that the electors have given to the candidates are added. Personal votes received from the list’s own voters and personal votes received from other lists’ voters count equally.

The members are returned in order according to who has the highest personal poll.

Example of the returning of members to the municipal council

Number of votes cast: 100
Increased share of the poll: 25 % av 100 = 25
Name of candidate

Order on the list
Increased share from the party Personal votes from the electors SUM personal poll Returning of members

Order

1. Anne Arnesen

25 17 42 1. Anne Arnesen
2. Per Paulsen 25 4 29 2. Eli Endresen
3. Eli Endresen 0 36 36 3. Per Paulsen
4. Gunnar Gran 0 19 19 4. Gunnar Gran
5. Hilde Hansen 0 12 12 5. Hilde Hansen
6. Pål Steen 0 0 0 6. Nora Hals
7. Nora Hals 0 1 1 7. Pål Steen

Returning of members to the county council

When it has been decided how many representatives an electoral list shall have, the seats are allocated to the candidates on the list. For candidates who have received personal votes from no fewer than 8 per cent of the party’s voters, the number of personal votes is taken as the basis for the sequence. These candidates move up, past candidates higher up on the list who have not received as many personal votes.

For all the other candidates, who have not won personal votes from no fewer than 8 per cent of the party’s voters, the order on the list is taken as the basis for the returning of members to the county council.

Example of the returning of members to the county council

Number of votes cast: 1 000
8 % of 1 000 = 80 ("percentage rule")
Name of candidate

Order on the list
Personal votes from the electors Returning of members

Order
1. Hilde Hauge 90 (9 %) * 1. Hilde Hauge *
2. Lars Lie 75 (7,5 %) 2. Jo Jensen *
3. Vibeke Vang 5 (0,5 %) 3. Lars Lie
4. Tor Tomset 21 (2,1 %) 4. Vibeke Vang
5. Liv Larsen 79 (7,9 %) 5. Tor Tomset
6. Jo Jensen 81 (8,1 %) * 6. Liv Larsen

*Personal poll exceeds 8% of the total number of votes polled by the list. Members are returned first in accordance with their personal poll. After this the remaining members are returned in the order in which their names appear on the list.

Returning of members to the Storting

For the returning of members to the Storting a count is first made of only those names that appear as No. 1 on the ballot papers. The candidate who wins most votes at this count is elected. After this those who are placed as No. 2 on the ballot papers are counted. The candidate who wins most votes when the results of both counts are added and the candidate who has already been elected is disregarded, is elected. This procedure continues until all the members have been returned.

For the electors’ changes on the ballot papers to have any influence on the choice of person more than half the party’s electors must have made changes in the case of the same candidate. This means that it takes a very great deal for the electors’ changes to have any significance. In practice this never happens.

8. Approval of elections - appeal

In the case of local government elections the determination of the result of the election shall be subject to the approval of the newly elected municipal/county council. Where an error has been made which cannot be corrected and which is of significance for the distribution of seats, the election shall be declared invalid. In such cases, notification is to be sent to the Ministry, which orders a new election. In the case of elections to the county council the Ministry may in special cases order new elections in the whole county, even though the error does not apply to all the municipal authority areas in the county.

In the case of parliamentary elections it is the Storting itself that approves the election and orders a new election if the election is declared invalid.

Any person who is entitled to vote may appeal against matters relating to the preparation and conduct of the election in the county/municipal authority area in which he or she is included in the register of electors. Where the appeal relates to questions concerning the right to vote or the possibility of casting a vote, a person who has not been included in the register of electors also has the right of appeal. There is a right of appeal against “matters relating to the preparation and conduct of the election”. In principle this means that one may appeal against matters of any kind. There are no limitations beyond the fact that the matter must be connected with the preparation and conduct of the election in one way or another.

An appeal must be brought within seven days after Election Day. It is however also possible to appeal earlier against matters relating to the preparation of the election. An appeal against the determination of the election result in the case of local government elections must be brought within seven days after the determination of the election result has been approved by the county/municipal council. In the case of parliamentary elections an appeal against the County Electoral Committee’s determination of the election result must be brought within seven days after the result has been declared.   

The Ministry is the appeal body in the case of local government elections. The decisions made by the Ministry in appeal cases are final and cannot be brought before the courts for review. The grounds for this lie in the need for a swift and final decision.

In the case of parliamentary elections the Storting is itself the appellate body when it comes to appeals concerning the franchise and the right to cast a ballot. The National Electoral Committee shall make a statement on the appeals. When it comes to appeals relating to other matters, the National Electoral Committee is the appellate body.