31.3.2023 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

Statistics Finland produces official statistics on municipal elections containing key data on the candidates, elected councillors, those entitled to vote, those who voted and support gained by the parties. Statistics Finland’s statistics pages on municipal elections also provide analyses on the backgrounds of the candidates and the elected, on those who voted in advance, and as separate services the election map service and the StatFin service (database tables / most detailed level is voting district).

Statistical population

The population of the statistics is the candidates nominated for the elections and persons entitled to vote in the elections.

Statistical unit

Statistical units are:
- candidate (person)
- elected councillor (person)
- party
- person entitled to vote (person)

Unit of measure

The measurement units in the statistics are the number of persons (candidates, elected councillors and persons entitled to vote), the number of votes cast and the number of persons who voted, as well as the percentage shares.

Base period

No indices are published in the statistics.

Reference period

The statistics describe the year 2021 (June).

Reference area

The data materials cover entire Mainland Finland, on the level of constituencies, municipalities and voting districts.

Sector coverage

The data produced in the statistics have no connection with economic activities and thus cannot cover them at all.

Time coverage

The data materials of the statistics cover only the time of the elections concerned. Time series are published in the statistics on support for the parties and voting turnout by combining data materials.

Data published after the control calculation are final.

Frequency of dissemination

The frequency of dissemination of the data is dependent on the frequency of elections. According to the normal schedule, municipal elections are held at four-year intervals, so the dissemination frequency of the statistics is every four years. It is also possible that elections are held more often than this, in which case the dissemination frequency of the statistics is correspondingly shorter than four years.


Advance polling stations

Advance polling stations include:
1) general advance polling stations in Finland laid down in a Decree
2) Finnish diplomatic missions set out by a decree
3) hospitals and prisons (institutions)
4) Finnish ships
5) a voter's residence (subject to certain preconditions).

Advance votes

The valid and invalid ballots taken into account in the advance voting.

As a rule, advance votes are counted on the actual election day, Sunday, at 15.00 pm. The count may be advanced in large electoral districts; the earliest possible starting time is at 12 noon. The objective is to finish the counting of advance votes by 20.00 pm, from which time onwards advance data can be released.

Advance voting

Advance voting is conducted in all general elections both in Finland and abroad. The Election Act (section 46, subsection 1) decrees that every enfranchised person is entitled to vote in advance in the general advance voting polling stations in Finland and in the Finnish diplomatic missions abroad. On election day an enfranchised person may vote only in the polling station of his/her own voting district. A voter need not give grounds for advance voting, but may freely choose between voting in advance or voting on the election day.

Advance voting commences on the 11th and ends on the 8th day before the election day both in Finland and abroad.

Advance voting percentage

The percentage of voters who voted in advance = their share of all voters.

In Statistics Finland statistics the share is calculated from all persons who voted. On the Ministry of Justice's Internet pages the percentage is calculated from all persons entitled to vote.

Comparative index

Parliamentary elections, European Parliamentary elections and municipal elections:

The order of candidates belonging to a party that is not in an electoral alliance or to a joint electoral list is determined by the number of votes cast for them personally. The candidates are assigned a comparative index. For the first candidate on a party list or a joint electoral list the comparative index is the total number of votes cast for the party or joint electoral list, the second candidate's comparative index is one-half of that and the third candidate's one-third etc. The comparative indices of the candidates from parties belonging to an electoral alliance are based on the total number of votes cast for the electoral alliance. The comparative index of a candidate not belonging to a joint electoral list is the total number of votes cast for him/her personally.

Constituency association

The basic unit (in addition to political parties) for nominating candidates in parliamentary elections, European Parliamentary elections, the Presidential election and municipal elections. (See nomination of candidates.)

Council (council seats)

The number of seats in the council depends on the size of the municipality (population). The smallest number of councillors is 17 (maximum population 2,000) and the highest 85 (population of over 400,000).

Councillor (elected)

A candidate in his/her home municipality who has been elected from among the municipal election candidates on the basis of the votes cast.

Election Act

The new comprehensive Election Act was approved in the Presidential Session of 2 October 1998. The Act contains both the common procedural provisions on different elections and the specific provisions on all general elections. The Act replaced the earlier separate Acts on parliamentary elections, the Presidential Election, municipal elections and the European Parliamentary elections.

The new Election Act was applied for the first time in the Parliamentary elections of 1999. The new division into constituencies based on the division into regions was applied for the first time in the Parliamentary elections held in spring 2003.

In all elections related concepts the date of ratification is considered to be the first day of being in force. After its entry into force, the new Act has been applied to all general elections.


The general preconditions of eligibility are mostly identical with the preconditions for being entitled to vote in elections. In municipal elections the preconditions of eligibility and being entitled to vote differ in that eligibility requires permanent residence in the municipality, whereas to be entitled to vote it is sufficient that a person is domiciled in the municipality 51 days before the elections.

Eligible as candidates in municipal elections are persons
1) whose municipality of residence is the municipality in question
2) who are entitled to vote in municipal elections in some municipality, and
3) who are not under guardianship (legally incompetent).

All persons entitled to vote and not under guardianship can stand as candidates in parliamentary elections. A person holding military office cannot, however, be elected as a representative. In addition certain high officials may not serve as representatives unless they resign from office.

Eligible as candidates in European Parliamentary elections are
1) all Finnish citizens who are entitled to vote in elections and not legally incompetent
2) all citizens of a Member State of the EU who are entitled to vote and who have registered and been entered into the voting register in Finland, and who have not lost eligibility in elections in their home state.

Native-born Finnish citizens are eligible in Presidential elections.

Entitled to vote

In parliamentary elections, the Presidential election and European Parliamentary elections, every Finnish citizen is entitled to vote provided the person has reached the age of 18 no later than on the day of the election. In the Presidential election, the voting age must be reached not later than on the day of the first round of the Presidential election.

In European Parliamentary elections, a citizen of another European Union Member State is also entitled to vote provided the person has reached the age of 18 no later than on the day of the election and whose municipality of residence referred to in the Municipality of Residence Act (201/1994) is in Finland provided the person has not lost the right to vote in European elections in the country of which he/she is a citizen (Election Act, Section 2).

Invalid ballots

The provisions on invalid ballots are in section 85 of the Election Act. Grounds for invalidity are
1) the ballot envelope contains something else or more than one ballot paper
2) the ballot envelope has an unauthorised mark
3) something other than a ballot paper printed by the Ministry of Justice has been used as the ballot paper
4) the ballot paper has not been stamped
5) the candidate's number has been written unclearly
6) the elector's name or distinctive identification or some other inappropriate marking has been made on the ballot paper.

In addition to the above, statistics are compiled also on the number of empty ballots.

Municipal elections

Finland is divided into local authorities where the autonomy of residents is safeguarded in the constitution. In general elections, the residents elect a council, which makes binding decisions and forms the organs responsible for preparatory work, enforcement and other administrative functions (municipal executive board and committees).

Elections are held, i.e. the council is elected, every four years on the third Sunday of October. This size of the council varies according to the population of the municipality (number of councillors ranges between 17 and 85).

Nomination of candidates

Parliamentary elections:
Parliamentary election candidates can be nominated by registered political parties and constituency associations established by at least 100 persons entitled to vote. When nominating candidates two or more political parties have the right to form an electoral alliance by mutual agreement. Correspondingly, two or more constituency associations have the right to form a joint electoral list. Each party, electoral alliance or joint electoral list can nominate a maximum of 14 candidates in each electoral district. If, by virtue of a Government decision, more than 14 candidates are elected from an electoral district, the number of candidates may be at most the number of candidates elected from that electoral district.

Municipal elections:
Municipal election candidates can be nominated by political parties and a minimum of 10 persons entitled to vote, who have established a constituency association. When nominating candidates two or more political parties have the right to form an electoral alliance by mutual agreement. Correspondingly, two or more constituency associations have the right to form a joint electoral list. A party, an electoral alliance or a joint electoral list can nominate at most one and a half times as many candidates as there are places for elected representatives.

European Parliamentary elections:
European Parliamentary election candidates can be nominated by registered political parties and constituency associations established by at least 2,000 persons entitled to vote. When nominating candidates two or more political parties have the right to form an electoral alliance by mutual agreement. Correspondingly, two or more constituency associations have the right to form a joint electoral list. Each party, electoral alliance or joint electoral list can nominate a maximum of 20 candidates in each country.

Presidential elections:
Candidates may be nominated in Presidential elections by 1) a political party, from whose list of candidates at least one representative was elected in the most recent Parliamentary elections or 2) at least 20,000 persons entitled to vote, who have established a constituency association. A political party or a constituency association may nominate only one candidate. Political parties and constituency associations may nominate the same candidate.


A party is an association which has been registered in the register of political parties maintained by the Ministry of Justice. Parties are voluntary associations whose main purpose is to influence the handling of the affairs of the state. Membership is usually gained through the party's local association.

Proportional elections

In proportional elections each party (or other group) gains representative seats in relation to the number of votes cast for it compared with the votes cast for other groups. If, for instance, a party gains 20 per cent of the votes cast, it should also gain 20 per cent of the available seats.

Presidential elections are not proportional, as the votes are cast for individual candidates and not for parties.

Voting turnout

Voting percentage = proportion of voters of persons entitled to vote.

Statistics on general elections include four different voting percentages:
1) the voting percentage of Finnish citizens resident in Finland
2) the voting percentage of Finnish citizens resident abroad
3) the total voting percentage which includes both of the above
4) a separate percentage for persons belonging to group 2 above and living in Sweden.

In European Parliamentary elections a voting percentage is calculated also for citizens of other EU Member States.

In municipal elections the right to vote is not based on Finnish citizenship, but on municipality of residence (See Entitled to vote).

In municipal elections voting percentages by nationality of foreign voters are presented in addition to the total voting percentage: EU Member State, Iceland and Norway, Other country. (See also Advance voting percentage)

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The main possible sources of error in the statistics are errors in the source data or errors in the processing of the data.


In terms of preliminary data, the delay between the event described by the data and the availability of the data is one to two days. The time lag between final, confirmed data and the availability of data is usually less than one week.

The time lag between the data released on the candidates and the availability of data is usually around two weeks, the time lag between the background data published on voting turnout and the availability of data is usually two to four weeks, and it takes several weeks to a few months to complete the data on sex.

Considering the exceptional nature of the statistics not only in terms of the phenomenon they describe but also in terms of the time dependency of the phenomenon, such as the external factors affecting the mid-week holidays of the year in question may have an effect on the delay between the availability of data and the phenomenon.


As regards the Municipal elections 2021, the data were produced and published within the planned timetable.


Comparability - geographical

Different areas within the country are comparable so that the legislation affecting the phenomenon is uniform.

The statistics are comparable between different countries to such extent that at the general level the statistics describe the selection of representatives related to the country's regional democracy. The practices, structures and legislation of different countries differ considerably in this respect, which affects the comparability of the data.

Comparability - over time

In principle, the statistics are comparable for the entire time series (starting from 1921). At conceptual level, matters related to the selection of candidates, support for the parties, voting turnout, and other key factors have not essentially changed.

In practice, several changes have taken place in the legislation in the time series (1921 to 2021) (e.g. changes related to voting rights and mergers and abolishment of municipalities), which may limit the comparability of data.

Coherence - cross domain

There are no other statistics relating to the matter and no other statistics are produced on it.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The data set is based on administrative sources.

Data collection

The data derive from different registers. The main source of the data is the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Register Centre operating under it. The voting register is received through the Ministry of Justice, its original source being the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

There are well-established practices for delivering the data to Statistics Finland between the Ministry of Justice, the Legal Register Centre and TietoEVRY, which is responsible for the technical implementation of the election information system. The details of data delivery are always agreed on in connection with each election.

The data are delivered to Statistics Finland as line transfer.

Frequency of data collection

Basic data are collected in connection with the municipal elections, that is, in the normal cycle at intervals of four years.


Data compilation

In the statistics the data are processed by summing up, statistics on the phenomenon described in the statistics do not require editing or imputation, for example.

Data validation

The data are validated in the production process by comparing the data published by other data producers and by examining the internal logic of the data.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the general act of the national statistical service, the Statistics Act (280/2004, amend. 361/2013). Only the necessary data that are not available from administrative data sources are collected from data suppliers. Index series are published so that no individual enterprise's data or development can be deduced from them.

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is absolutely guaranteed in accordance with the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Personal Data Act (532/1999) and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), as well as the requirements of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Wilful breaching of data protection is punishable.

Confidentiality - data treatment

Data are protected in the statistics for voting districts where the number of persons entitled to vote/who voted is below the threshold set. In the case of such voting districts, persons entitled to vote/who voted in the area in question are presented in connection with another voting district in the same municipality.

Release policy

Statistics Finland's release calendar lists in advance all the statistical data and publications to be released over the year. Statistical releases can be found under statistics-specific releases. Statistical data are released on the Internet at 8 am, unless otherwise indicated. The calendar is updated on weekdays. Statistics Finland's release calendar for the coming year is published every year in December.

Data sharing

The data are not shared between other statistical offices or units.

Accessibility and clarity

The data are made available to users in the form of releases, reviews and appendix tables connected to the releases mentioned above and StatFin database tables. All data are released on the pages of Statistics Finland's statistics on municipal elections.

Quality assessment

The quality of the statistics on municipal elections is assessed continuously in connection with the production of the statistics. The produced data are compared with the data produced by other data producers and the materials and the produced data are controlled for logic.

Quality assurance

When compiling statistics, Statistics Finland observes the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP) and the Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) based on them. The Code of Practice concerns the independence and accountability of statistical authorities and the quality of processes and data to be published. The principles are in line with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics approved by the United Nations Statistics Division and are supplementary to them. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The principles are also compatible with those of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).

More information about this is available on Statistics Finland's quality management pages.

Every year Statistics Finland conducts statistical auditing that helps to ensure the quality of statistics.

User access

The data are released to all users simultaneously on the website of the statistics on municipal elections. No one has access to the data before the time of publication.

Statistical experts

Sami Fredriksson
Senior Statistician
029 551 2696

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

Go to the archive page