1.3.2024 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on Presidential elections contain statistics on the result and voting turnout of the Presidential elections, as well as background data on the voters.

Statistical presentation

The statiStatistics Finland produces the official statistics of elections. The Presidential elections are held normally each sixth year. The statistics on the results of confirmed data are released on the statistics pages and the StatFin databases are updated. Statistics Finland receives basic election data from the Ministry of Justice’s election data system.

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)
- person elected
- person entitled to vote
- voters (person)
- advance voters (person)

Unit of measure

The units of measure used in the statistics are the number of persons (candidates and persons entitled to vote), the number of votes cast and the number of voters.

Reference period

The statistics describe the year 2024 (January).

Reference area

The data cover the whole of Finland at the level of constituencies, municipalities and voting districts.

Sector coverage

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

Time coverage

The data in the statistics cover only the time of the elections concerned. In the statistics, time series on voting turnout are published by combining different data sets.

Data published after the recount of votes are final.

Frequency of dissemination

The frequency of dissemination of the data depends on the frequency of elections. According to the normal schedule, Presidential elections are held at six-year intervals, so the frequency of dissemination of the statistics is every six years.

Concepts

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)
6) Postal voting (Persons living or staying abroad during the entire advance voting period and on election day may vote by post from abroad in general elections)

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, municipal elections and county 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

The division into constituencies refers to the regional division of seats to be filled in the election.

County elections:
In county elections the constituency is the wellbeing services county.

Parliamentary elections:
For the purpose of parliamentary elections, the country has been divided into constituencies on the basis of regions. In parliamentary elections the seats in parliament are allocated to constituencies according to a Government decision. According to law, one representative is elected from the Ahvenanmaa constituency and the remaining 199 seats are allocated proportionally to the other constituencies according to their population of Finnish citizens.

Other elections:
The whole country is one single constituency in Presidential elections and in the European Parliamentary elections. Municipalities are the constituencies of municipal elections. Therefore, when counting the votes in these elections, seats are not allocated to different regions. All statistics do, however, present results also by constituency in order to maintain the comparability of different elections.

Constituency association

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

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.

Eligible

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).

A person is eligible to stand as a candidate in county elections if they
1) are domiciled in the wellbeing services county in question (their municipality of residence belongs to the wellbeing services county in question),
2) have the right to vote in the county elections in some wellbeing services county, and
3) are not without legal capacity.

A resident of a wellbeing services county is a person who has a municipality of residence in the wellbeing services county as intended in the Municipality of Residence Act (201/1994).

Provisions on the restrictions on candidate eligibility are laid down in section 77 of the Act on wellbeing services counties.

“Eligible for election to a county council are not:
1) central government officials who perform supervisory tasks directly concerning a wellbeing services county;
2) persons employed by a wellbeing services county who work in a senior position within an area of responsibility of the county executive or a board or in an unincorporated county enterprise, or in another comparable position of responsibility;
3) persons employed by a corporate entity or foundation under the control of a wellbeing services county who, in terms of their position, are comparable to persons employed by a wellbeing services county as referred to in paragraph 2;
4) persons employed by a joint county for wellbeing services, of which the wellbeing services county in question is a member, who, in terms of their position, are comparable to persons employed by a wellbeing services county as referred to in a paragraph 2.
5) however, persons in the employment relationships referred to above are eligible for election as county councillors, if this employment relationship ends before the county councillors’ term begins.”


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).

Entitled to vote in municipal elections and in county elections are citizens of Finland or another member state of European Union as of Iceland and Norway who have reached the age of 18 not later than on the day of the election, and whose municipality of residence, as defined by law, is in the Finnish Population Information System is the municipality in question on the 51st day before election day. The right to vote in municipal elections and in county elections is also to other foreign nationals meeting the above conditions, if he has had a place of domicile in Finland for at least two years. (Municipality of residence Act 26§).

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.

Nomination of candidates

County elections
The candidates are nominated for the entire wellbeing services county, voters only vote for the candidates in their own wellbeing services county and the result is calculated for each wellbeing services county.

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.

Party

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.

Presidential election

According to the Finnish Constitution (section 54) the President of the Republic is elected by a direct vote for a term of six years. The President shall be a native-born Finnish citizen. The candidate who receives more than half of the votes cast in the election shall be elected President. If none of the candidates has received a majority of the votes cast, a new election shall be held between the two candidates who have received most votes. In the new election, the candidate receiving the most votes is elected President.

The first round of the Presidential election shall be held on the third Sunday of January of the sixth year after the year in which the previous President of the Republic was inaugurated. If a second round of elections is required, this shall be held on the second Sunday after the first round of Presidential elections.

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).

The right to vote in county elections is determined in the same way as in municipal elections, their municipality of residence is a municipality belonging to the wellbeing services county.

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.
 

Timeliness

 The delay between the final, confirmed data and access to the data is usually less than one week.

The delay between the data released on the candidates and access to the data is usually around two weeks, while the delay between the background data published on voting turnout and access to the data is usually two to four weeks.

Given the exceptional nature of the statistics, not only in terms of the phenomenon described but also in terms of the time dependency of the phenomenon, external factors affecting the mid-week holidays of the year in question, etc. may affect the delay between access to the data and the phenomenon.

Punctuality

For the 2024 Presidential election, the data were produced and published within the planned timetable.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

Within the country, different regions are comparable so that the legislation affecting the phenomenon is consistent.

The statistics are comparable across countries insofar as they reflect the process of electing the country’s head of state. At a more detailed level, the differences between countries are considerable, not only because of differences in practices, structures and legislation, but also because of differences in the role and status of the head of state in different countries.

Comparability - over time

In principle, the statistics are comparable for the whole time series (starting from 1925). At a conceptual level, matters related to the selection of candidates, voting turnout and other key factors have not substantially changed.

In practice, several changes have taken place in legislation in the time series (1925 to 2018) (e.g. changes related to voting rights) 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 are obtained 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 obtained through the Ministry of Justice, its original source is 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 the delivery of the material are always separately agreed for each election.

The data are delivered to Statistics Finland as line transfer.

Frequency of data collection

Basic data are collected in connection with the presidential election, i.e. normally every six years.

Methods

Data compilation

In the statistics, the data are processed by summing them. The 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 with data published by other data producers and by examining the internal logic of the data.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Social Statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). 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. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Confidentiality - data treatment

In the statistics, data from constituencies where the number of persons entitled to vote/the number of voters remains below a specified threshold are protected. In the case of such voting districts, persons entitled to vote/persons who voted in the area in question are presented in connection with another voting district in the same municipality.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Data sharing

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

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.   

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases. 

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.   

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service. 

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions. 

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before. 

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data. 

Relevance

When compiling the statistics, the needs of users are taken into account as far as possible.
 

User needs

The key users of the statistics are citizens, the media, organisations, political actors (candidates, representatives, political parties) and research institutes.

Quality assessment

The quality of the statistics on Presidential 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

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics 

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data. 

Statistical experts

Service email
vaalit@stat.fi
Sami Fredriksson
Senior Statistician
029 551 2696

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

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