The research project Facilitating Electoral Participation from Abroad ended in August 2021. The data collected during the project has been submitted to the Finnish Social Science Data Archive and will continue to be scrutinized by researchers. The dialogue between the researchers, the ministry in charge of democracy policy (Ministry of Justice) and the representatives of Finns abroad continues.
The FACE team wishes to thank each and every participant for their valuable contribution to the project.
The pandemic conditions surrounding the 2021 Finnish municipal elections increased interest in developing electoral systems, including convenience voting. The FACE Project Leader Johanna Peltoniemi was interviewed a number of times by the national and international media about these issues. Below, a list of selected media clips/interviews that can be accessed without subscription:
Two new peer-reviewed research publications by the FACE team members have come out:
Wass, H., Peltoniemi, J., Weide, M., & Nemčok, M. (2021). Signed, Sealed and Delivered with Trust: Non-Resident Citizens’ Experiences of Newly Adopted Postal Voting. Frontiers in Political Science – Elections and Representation, 3(83).
Weide, M. (2021). Practicing Ballot Secrecy: Postal Voting and the Witness Requirement at the 2019 Finnish Elections. Frontiers in Political Science – Elections and Representation, 3(65).
The same special issue in the journal Frontiers in Political Science also contains an article from our “sister project” Diaspora:
Vento, I. (2021). Homeland Political Trust Among Emigrants: The Case of Finland-Swedes. Frontiers in Political Science 3 (19). doi: 10.3389/fpos.2021.642037.
The FACE Project Manager Johanna Peltoniemi, together with Staffan Himmelroos, draw on public opinion research to gain new insights on external voting rights. They examine the desirability of external voting, an issue where political theorists have been quite divided, by asking both resident and non-resident citizens how they view external voting rights. In their article recently published in Scandinavian Political Studies, they show that resident and non-resident Finnish citizens view external voting rights differently. They suggest that voting rights have a different meaning for residents and non-residents: To the majority of the resident citizens voting rights insinuate an active relationship with the democratic society they are part of, whereas for non-residents, electoral rights in the homeland seem to be important primarily as a symbolic gesture of romanticized belonging to the country of origin. The article is available in an open access format at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9477.12211.
The project leader for FACE Johanna Peltoniemi was recently interviewed for Suomen Kuvalehti about the need to develop flexible voting methods in order to maintain accessibility and high quality of elections during exceptional times.
The article is behind a paywall.
Kimmo Makkonen’s research report Is Anyone Representing Non-resident Finnish Citizens in the Legislative Process of Finland? was recently published in Frontiers in Political Science.
Drawing on a text database of parliamentary documents, the article reveals that “the expatriate Finns are a kind of ‘forgotten people’ in the sense of parliamentary representation.” Learn more at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpos.2021.627982/full!
Suomen Silta – The Finland Bridge Magazine published an article on some of our results included in the Finnish National Election Study 2019.
The article is available in English at https://www.lukusali.fi/?p=Suomen%20Silta&i=5291aa70-f8c6-11ea-8a45-00155d64030a, page 11 and in Finnish at https://www.lukusali.fi/?p=Suomen%20Silta&i=10bc7512-f8c6-11ea-9f46-00155d64030a, page 17.
Some of the results on the voting method and postal voting questions in the FACE survey are published as a part of the Finnish National Election Study 2019 (in Finnish).
The chapter 14 ”Kotini on vaalikoppini: joustavien äänestysmuotojen merkitys yhdenvertaiselle poliittiselle osallistumiselle” by Johanna Peltoniemi, Marjukka Weide & Hanna Wass for instance reveals that women are more inclined to use the postal voting method than men, and that the likelihood of postal voting is strongly related to the distance between an elector’s home and the polling station. The likelihood of postal voting is 20-fold for those living more than 200 km away from the polling station compared to those living at a less than 10 km distance. The chapter also includes a thematic analysis of written responses on postal voting submitted through the survey, identifying various timing related issues and the requirement of witnesses as the most commonly commented problems of postal voting.
A short presentation of the main points can be read here (in Finnish):
FACE Project Manager Johanna Peltoniemi was interviewed by SSS-Radio (Tallin, Estonia) about the results: https://sss-radio.ee/podcast/johanna-peltoniemi-haastattelu/
Borg, Sami; Kestilä-Kekkonen, Elina; Wass, Hanna (Eds.) 2020. Politiikan ilmastonmuutos. Eduskuntavaalitutkimus 2019. Oikeusministeriön julkaisuja, Selvityksiä ja ohjeita 2020:5. Helsinki: Oikeusministeriö.
The publication (in Finnish) can be downloaded as a pdf at: http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/162429
The FACE survey data suggests that adoption of postal voting among Finnish citizens residing abroad is dependent on two different type of factors: On the one hand, voting via post helps to overcome distance between a voter’s residency and the nearest polling station organized by a diplomatic mission (mostly an embassy or a consulate). On the other hand, this way of voting also requires enough trust that the postal service and designated state office will successfully deliver one’s vote all the way to the ballot box, as the result cannot be effectively verified without violating the ballot secrecy. Johanna Peltoniemi and Miroslav Nemčok published a short news article about this topic in Suomen Silta 2/2020, page 7: https://www.lukusali.fi/?p=Suomen%20Silta&i=02da358a-941a-11ea-aeee-00155d64030a.
We now invite Finnish citizens abroad to contribute to the research by their thoughts and personal experiences of postal voting. What makes you trust or distrust the Finnish postal voting system? If you have voted, or tried to vote, through postal voting, how did it go? Contact us at email@example.com if you’d like to participate!
The Journal Siirtolaisuus Migration by the Migration Institute of Finland published a short piece on our project! See page 14-16 (text in Finnish).
Our next publication will a chapter in the Finnish National Election Study (FNES) 2019 that will come out in July.
Stay tuned for more results! They will appear by theme/research problem in various scientific publications, some in Finnish, others in English.