The Municipal and Regional Election 2017

It’s close to impossible to miss all the posters of the candidates hanging from every possible tree, bridge and lamppost. If you are wondering what all this is about, what it means to you or what it means to Denmark – this post is for you.

With all the many smiling faces staring down at you, the election can quickly become confusing and overwhelming. Trust me, I’m a first-time voter and therefore extremely confused about what’s to happen the 21st of November myself. Hopefully this post will clear things up for me as well as for all of you! Let’s break it down.

So who can vote?

The first criteria is that you must be 18 years old and you must be registered; have a CPR number and have registered your address.
You must also meet one of the following requirements:
  • Have a Danish citizenship
  • Have an EU citizenship (or Norweigan or Icelandic)
  • Have lived uninterrupted in the Danish Kingdom (Denmark, Greenland or the Faroe Islands) for at least 3 years

Who can’t vote?

  • People who move from one municipality to another after the 14th of November 2017 cannot vote in either municipality. Same goes if you move from one region to another. Note; If you do move out of your municipality after the 14th, you will still receive the poll card for the regional election, given you have not also moved region.
  • People on a tolerated stay
  • People that have been expelled from Denmark
  • And of course people who do not meet the previously mentioned requirements cannot vote
If you meet the requirements to vote you will automatically be on the electoral roll and you will receive your personal poll cards at the latest five days before the election (so the 16th of November). If you have not received your poll cards, we suggest you reach out to your municipality. We say poll cards in plural because you will receive one for the local (municipal) election and one for the regional.

So what are we actually voting for?

Every four years, on the third Tuesday of November, we vote for the Municipal Council and the Regional Council. A lot of the decisions that affect our everyday is decided on these two levels, and that’s why it’s important to not neglect this election, even though it might not seem as important as the General Election.

The Municipal Council

The Municipal Council are responsible for a lot of relevant topics such as: public schools in the municipality, local housing supply, childcare, eldercare, Danish classes for foreigners and job opportunities for the unemployed. It is also the municipality that pay social benefits and collect taxes. The law says that there must be an uneven number of members in the Municipal Council and the size of the council depends on the size of the town. The range is from 9-31 members – with one exception being the Municipality of Copenhagen, which has 55 members due to its size. The leader of the Municipal Council is the Mayor (in Copenhagen it’s the Lord Mayor).

The Regional Council

There are five regions in Denmark: Nordjylland (Northern Jutland), Midtjylland (Mid-Jutland), Syddanmark (Southern Denmark), Sjælland (Zealand) and Hovedstaden (The Capital). Each region has a Regional Council and this council is the other half of what we’re voting for on November 21st. The regions handle the bigger tasks such as: Hospitals (general physical and mental health), public transportation and special offers for those in need. Your vote might also influence the region’s stand in regards to further development in topics like tourism, jobs and the environment. 41 candidates will be part of the Regional Council and one of them (a representative of the party with the most mandates) will be the Chairman of the Regional Council.

Who are we voting for?

There is a total of 195 different lists (parties) fighting for seats in the Municipal Councils. Some of these are small local parties, and therefore I think if you are going to vote you just need to know the parties that are part of the Parliament (plus maybe 1 or 2 extra).
For the Regional Council for the Capital Region there are 351 candidates from a total of 32 lists/parties.
I’m going to list the 9 parties that make up the Danish Parliament and a few extra that might be good to know as well. The parties are listed in regards to how many seats they have in the Parliament (number of members in parenthesis). The list also includes their party letter (which sets the order of the parties on the election card) as well as their English name:
Socialdemokratiet (46) ~ The Social Democratic Party ~ A
Dansk Folkeparti (37) ~ Danish People’s Party ~ O
Venstre (34) ~ Left, Liberal Party of Denmark (Alternatively: Denmark’s Liberal Party) ~ V
Enhedslisten (14) ~ The Red-Green Alliance ~ Ø
Liberal Alliance (13) ~ The Liberal Alliance ~ I
Alternativet (10) ~ The Alternative ~  Å
Radikale Venstre (8) ~ The Danish Social-Liberal Party ~ B
Socialistisk Folkeparti (7) ~ Socialist People’s Party ~ F
Det Konservative Folkeparti (6) ~ Conservative People’s Party ~ C
Kristendemokraterne (Not in parliament) ~ Christian Democrats ~ K
Nye Borgerlige (Not in parliament) ~ The New Right ~ D
Here’s the link to a very good test that’ll help you decide who you should vote for, based on your opinion on current issues. Sadly, the list is in Danish so you will have to translate it yourself if you don’t speak the language.
Test for the Municipal Council
Test for the Regional Council 
If you would like to take a look at all the many candidates, or perhaps just the ones relevant for you, you can use this link to find the two Excel sheets with lists of all the candidates: Click here for that

What else should I know?

Your poll card will include the specific information you need: where you are able to vote. The polling stations are open from 8-20. If you are unable to vote the 21st of November it is possible to vote by postal vote. You can read more about that here!
I sincerely wish you all a good election and I hope that you have gotten some of your questions answered with this post (I know I have myself). If you still have any, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I will answer to my best capabilities!
I’d like to end by encouraging all of you who are able to vote, to do so!
Written by Laura Pilmark

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