In case of any discrepancies between the original text in Icelandic and the translation, only the original text as published in the Official Gazette of Iceland (Stjórnartíðindi) is authentic. Please note as well that amendments may have been made since the translations were prepared.
Act No. 24 from 16 May 2000 Concerning Parliamentary Elections to the Althing
Right to vote and eligibility
Article 1 Every Icelandic citizen who has reached the age of 18 and is domiciled in Iceland is eligible to vote in parliamentary elections to the Althing when elections take place.
All Icelandic citizens who have reached the age of 18 and who are domiciled in Iceland are eligible to vote:
a. for a period of eight years from the time when they moved their domicile from Iceland, counting from 1 December prior to the date of the election;
b. after the date referred to in item (a), provided that they have applied for it according to further rules laid down in Article 2.
Article 2 Applications for the right to vote pursuant to item (b) of paragraph 2 of Article 1 should be sent to [the National Registry]1) on a proper form indicating the applicant's name, ID number, last domicile in Iceland, address abroad, and when he or she moved from Iceland. An application shall at the same time include a statement from the applicant to the effect that he or she is still an Icelandic citizen. [The National Registry]1) provides these application forms, which must be readily available at Icelandic Embassies and at the offices of the permanent missions of Iceland, at consular offices and at the offices of honorary consulates. Applications received by the [National Registry]1) more than one year before the lapse of the right under item (a) of paragraph 2 of Article 1 should not be taken into consideration. If an application is satisfactory, the [National Registry]1) will notify the applicant and the relevant municipal authority thereof. A decision that an individual is to be added to the electoral register is effective for a period of four years from the proximate 1 December following the submission of the application.
These provisions shall apply in the same way with respect to the renewal of the right to vote.
1)Act No. 50/2006, Article 19.
Article 3 No one can exercise their right to vote unless their name is found on the electoral register at the time of the election.
Article 4 Anyone who has the right to vote pursuant to Article 1 and who is in possession of full civil rights (not been convicted of a felony) is eligible to take part in the Althing parliamentary elections. Supreme Court Justices and the Althing ombudsman however are not eligible.
Article 5 No person is considered to possess full civil rights who has been convicted by a court of law for committing an act that is considered heinous by public opinion unless that person has been granted a restoration of his or her civil rights.
A judgment of conviction for a punishable offence does not entail the loss of civil rights unless the defendant in a criminal case had reached the age of 18 when the offence was committed and the resulting sentence is at least four years prison without probation or a sentence of preventive detention for defendants who are committed to psychiatric care.
Article 6 Voters exercise their right to vote in the constituencies according to the provisions and conditions laid down by this Act. Iceland is divided into constituencies according to the following:
[1. The north-west constituency
This consists of the following municipalities: Akraneskaupstadur, Hvalfjardarstrandarhreppur, Skilmannahreppur, Innri-Akraneshreppur, Leirár- and Melahreppur, Skorradalshreppur, Borgarfjardarsveit, Hvítársíduhreppur, Borgarbyggd, Kolbeinsstadahreppur, Eyja- and Miklaholtshreppur, Snæfellsbær, Grundarfjardarbær, Helgafellssveit, Stykkishólmsbær, Dalabyggd, Saurbæjarhreppur, Reykhólahreppur, Vesturbyggd, Tálknafjardarhreppur, Bolungarvíkurkaupstadur, Ísafjardarbær, Súdavíkurhreppur, Árneshreppur, Kaldrananeshreppur, Hólmavíkurhreppur, Broddaneshreppur, Bæjarhreppur, Húnathing vestra, Áshreppur, Sveinsstadahreppur, Torfalækjarhreppur, Blönduósbær, Svínavatnshreppur, Bólstadarhlídarhreppur, Höfdahreppur, Skagabyggd, Sveitarfélagid Skagafjördur and Akrahreppur.
2. The north-east constituency
This consists of the following municipalities: Siglufjardarkaupstadur, Ólafsfjardarbær, Grímseyjarhreppur, Dalvíkurbyggd, Hríseyjarhreppur, Arnarneshreppur, Hörgárbyggd, Akureyrarkaupstadur, Eyjafjardarsveit, Svalbardsstrandarhreppur, Grýtubakkahreppur, Thingeyjarsveit, Skútustadahreppur, Adaldælahreppur, Húsavíkurbær, Tjörneshreppur, Kelduneshreppur, Öxarfjardarhreppur, Raufarhafnarhreppur, Svalbardshreppur, Thórshafnarhreppur, Skeggjastadahreppur, Vopnafjardarhreppur, Nordur-Hérad, Fljótsdalshreppur, Fellahreppur, Austur-Hérad, Borgarfjardarhreppur, Seydisfjardarkaupstadur, Fjardabyggd, Mjóafjardarhreppur, Fáskrúdsfjardarhreppur, Búdahreppur, Stödvarhreppur, Breiddalshreppur and Djúpavogshreppur.
3. The south constituency
This consists of the following municipalities: Municipality of Hornafjördur, Skaftárhreppur, Mýrdalshreppur, Rangárthing eystra, Rangárthing ytra, Ásahreppur, Vestmannaeyjabær, Gaulverjabæjarhreppur, Municipality of Árborg, Hraungerdishreppur, Villingaholtshreppur, Skeida- and Gnúpverjahreppur, Hrunamannahreppur, Bláskógabyggd, Grímsnes- and Grafningshreppur, Hveragerdisbær, Municipality of Ölfus, Grindavíkurkaupstadur, Sandgerdisbær, Gerdahreppur, Reykjanesbær and Vatnsleysustrandarhreppur.]1)
4. The south-west constituency 2)
This consists of the following municipalities: Hafnarfjarðarkaupstadur, Gardabær, Bessastadahreppur, Kópavogsbær, Seltjarnarneskaupstadur, Mosfellsbær and Kjósarhreppur.
5.–6. Reykjavík constituency south and north 2)
Reykjavík shall be divided from the west to the east into two constituencies, the south constituency and the north constituency as laid down in Article 7.
In the event that the name or boundaries of a municipality are changed, or if two or more such municipalities merge, then the resulting new municipality shall be considered to belong to the constituency to which the old or the older municipalities belonged. In the event that such change affects the constituency boundaries, such boundaries shall then remain unchanged.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 1.2)See also Act No. 62/2001, concerning changes in the boundaries of the south-west constituency and the north and south Reykjavík constituencies, and Act No. 70/2003, concerning changes in the boundaries of the south-west constituency and the Reykjavík constituency south.
Article 7 When parliamentary elections to the Althing have been announced, the National Electoral Commission shall determine the Reykjavík constituency boundaries based on the population register of the National Registry five weeks before the election day, cf. paragraph 1 of Article 23. The boundaries shall be determined based on the number of voters of either constituency for each parliamentary seat; with the adjustment seats taken into account, being more or less of equal numbers. Care should be taken, as far as is feasible, that each constituency forms a continuous whole.
The National Electoral Commission announces the boundaries for the constituencies in the Government Gazette as soon as they have been determined, and no later than four weeks before election day.1)
Article 8 There are 63 parliamentary seats in the Althing, which are divided as follows between the constituencies:
The north-west constituency
10 parliamentary seats
The north-east constituency
10 parliamentary seats
The south constituency
10 parliamentary seats
The south-west constituency
11 parliamentary seats
Reykjavík south constituency
11 parliamentary seats
Reykjavík north constituency
11 parliamentary seats
The north-west constituency, the north-east constituency and the south constituency shall each consist of the nine parliamentary seats of the constituency and one adjustment seat. The south-west constituency, the Reykjavík constituency north and the Reykjavík constituency south shall each consist of the nine parliamentary seats of the constituency and two adjustment seats.
Notwithstanding what is stated in paragraphs 1 and 2, the National Electoral Commission may alter the number of constituency parliamentary seats in accordance with Article 9.
Article 9 Following each parliamentary election to the Althing, the National Electoral Commission shall calculate whether the number of voters on the electoral register for any parliamentary seat in one constituency, including adjustment seats according to paragraph 2 of Article 8, are only half the number of voters for any other parliamentary seat in some other constituency, according to the electoral register in the recent elections, cf. paragraph 5 of Article 31 of the Constitution. If so, the National Electoral Commission shall alter the number of constituency parliamentary seats for these constituencies so that this difference is diminished.That change must, however, never be more than is needed at any time in order to satisfy the requirements of this provision of the Constitution.
The National Electoral Commission announces the change in the Government Gazette as soon as it has been made.1)
The authority of the National Electoral Commission to change the number of members of parliament in the constituencies according to this particular Article, however, only covers those constituency seats that exceed the constitutional minimum, cf. paragraph 3 of Article 31 of the Constitution.
Article 10 Each constituency shall be divided into polling wards and each municipality comprises one polling ward unless the municipal government has decided to divide it into more polling wards.
Polling wards should generally be named after the polling station or they should be given numbers in order to distinguish them.
Article 11 There shall be three categories of electoral commission for the parliamentary elections to the Althing:
a. The National Electoral Commission;
b. Senior electoral commissions [and regional electoral commissions, cf. paragraph 3 of Article 13]1);
c. Local electoral commissions and other municipal electoral commissions, cf. paragraph 2 of Article 15.
1)1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 2.
Article 12 Following every parliamentary general election the Althing elects a five-member National Electoral Commission and the same number of alternates. The National Electoral Commission selects its own President and then allocates tasks among the members.
Article 13 Each constituency has a senior electoral commission. The senior electoral commission shall consist of five members and the same number of alternates. These are elected by the Althing in the same manner as the National Electoral Commission. It elects its own President from among it members.
The senior electoral commission shall, with sufficient notice prior to the general elections, announce the location where it will receive lists of candidates and where it will reside during the elections, and its residence shall have the most suitable location with respect to transportation as possible.
[The senior electoral commission may decide that there is a regional electoral commission for a particular constituency and the commission shall determine the constituency boundaries. The regional electoral commission shall be elected by the senior electoral commission and it shall consist of three persons and an equal number of alternates. The regional electoral commission elects its own President from among its members. Under certain conditions the Minister may permit two regional electoral commissions in each constituency that shall both be elected in the same manner.]1)
1)1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 3.
Article 14 If a member of the National Electoral Commission or if a member of a senior electoral commission is absent and the alternate is not available, the Minister shall then appoint members in their place following the recommendations of the organisation that elected them to the Althing.
Article 15 Each polling ward shall have one local electoral commission that shall consist of three persons who are elected by the municipal government and an equal number of alternates.
In municipalities where there are more than one polling wards the municipality can elect a special three-person electoral commission that is to supervise the work of the local electoral commissions. Where there are more than one polling wards at the same polling station the municipal government shall elect a special three-person electoral commission (a neighbourhood or senior commission) that is to supervise the work of the local electoral commissions at the polling station. If there are more than one such polling stations the municipal government shall, in the same manner, elect a special senior electoral commission for the municipality. With the approval of the senior electoral commissions of the Reykjavík constituencies the Mayor may decide that these electoral commissions may manage the tasks of the senior electoral commissions in each of the two constituencies of the City of Reykjavík. These electoral commissions shall generally be on stand-by to attend, without notice, meetings held on the election day for the purposes of decision making and delivering rulings in connection with the elections, if needed.
The electoral commissions shall be elected at the first meeting of the newly elected municipal government for a term of four years. Where the electoral commissions are elected according to paragraph 2, the municipal government may postpone the election of the local and neighbourhood electoral commissions so that they will be elected for a period of one year prior to each general parliamentary election to the Althing.Municipal governments may also postpone an election of one or more alternates. Electoral commissions select their own President of the electoral commission and allocate tasks among the members.
Article 16 A member of an electoral commission shall give up his or her seat if he or she is a candidate in the Althing elections.
A member of an electoral commission shall also give up his or her seat if there is an issue that involves his or her spouse, or any person who is related or linked to that member through matrimony by lineal consanguinity, or is a first cousin, or related to him or her in the same manner through adoption.
Article 17 Alternates assume a seat in an electoral commission in the absence of the principal members pursuant to the general rules for proportional representation, but otherwise following the order in which they are elected or appointed.If an electoral commission cannot be filled through this arrangement it shall summon the person or the persons needed in order to fill up the places.
Article 18 It is a civil duty to take a seat in an electoral commission.
The Minster of Justice decides the remuneration for work in the National Electoral Commission, [the local electoral commission and the regional electoral commission]1) and the municipal government determines the remuneration for work performed in local electoral commissions and in electoral commissions pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 15.
1)1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 4.
Article 19 All electoral commissions shall keep a record of the minutes of meetings and record their activities.A municipality where a senior electoral commission is elected, cf. Article 15, may decide that local electoral commissions use special forms in lieu of minutes.
The National Electoral Commission shall record its decisions concerning constituency boundaries according to Article 7, and its decisions concerning the number of constituent seats according to Article 9; it shall also record its decisions concerning political organisations and candidatures, the reception of ballot materials, the sum of votes for political organisations, and the allocation of parliamentary seats, etc. Senior electoral commissions shall record the receiving of candidatures, their processing to the National Electoral Commission and their reception anew, the dispatch of and reception of ballot papers and letters, delivering of various types of rulings, the counting of votes, the results of elections, etc.The local electoral commissions [and, as the case may be, the regional commissions] shall record anything as prescribed in this Act and which is of importance with respect to the conduct of the election.
The Ministry of Justice provides and certifies the record of minutes of the National Electoral Commission, [the senior electoral commissions and, as the case may be, the regional electoral commissions].1) The senior electoral commissions will provide and certify the records of minutes of the local electoral commissions.
The Ministry of Justice provides the electoral commissions with the seal of office.
1)1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 5.
Article 20 Regular general elections to the Althing shall take place no later than by the end of the electoral term.The start and the end of the electoral term shall be the same weekday of the month counting from the turn of the month, even though individual elections may not have taken place on that date.
The Ministry of Justice shall, however, announce when the regular general elections to the Althing will take place.
The electoral term is four years.
Article 21 In the event that the session of the Althing is dissolved then the President of Iceland will determine the election date.
Article 22 When general parliamentary elections have been announced, municipal authorities shall prepare electoral registers according to a voters database list provided by [The National Registry]1).
1)1)Act No. 50/2006, Article 20.
Article 23 The following shall be placed on the electoral register:
a. Those who fulfil the conditions of paragraph 1 of Article 1 and who had their domicile in the relevant municipality according to the population register of the National Registry five weeks prior to the election day.
b. Those who meet the conditions of paragraph 2 of Article 1, cf. Article 2, and whose last registered domicile in Iceland was in the municipality referred to.
Those who should be placed on the electoral register in Reykjavík according to item (b) of paragraph 1 shall be divided between the south and the north constituencies in Reykjavík pursuant to Article 7. Those who are born in the first half of the month shall go to the south constituency, and those who are born in the second half of the month shall go to the north constituency. The National Electoral Commission determines where the boundaries shall be per month, cf. paragraph 1 of Article 7.The same rule shall apply to those who, according to item (a) of paragraph 1, are registered in Reykjavík with an undefined address.
Article 24 The electoral register shall be written on forms provided by [the National Registry]1) and the guidelines that have been written on the guidelines must be followed in detail.
When the electoral register has been compiled it must be signed by the President of the municipal authority or by the [municipality administrator].2)
1)1)Act No. 50/2006, Article 20.
2)1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 6.
Article 25 The Ministry of Justice shall no later than twelve days prior to the election date announce the presentation of the electoral register through state radio and television and through newspaper advertisements.The advertisement shall indicate that those who wish to make complaints regarding the electoral register shall send them to the relevant municipal authority.
Article 26 The electoral register shall be presented to the public in the offices of the local authorities or in other suitable locations no later than ten days prior to the election day.
The municipal authority shall announce where the electoral register will be presented in the above manner, and it shall do so in every local government area in the places where public announcements are customarily published.
Following the presentation of the electoral register, the register shall be available for the public during regular office hours until election day. A certified transcript of the electoral register can be used for presentation.
Article 27 The local authority must give immediate attention to complaints that it receives regarding the register and make the relevant corrections to it, if appropriate. Such corrections may be made right up to election day.
If complaints are received stating that somebody's name should be removed from the electoral register, the relevant party must be informed immediately. If complaints are received claiming that an individual should be added to the electoral register who may be assumed to be on the electoral register in another municipality, the relevant municipal authority should be notified thereof immediately. A time limit will be set, taking account of time and circumstances, to submit complaints. In the event of a dispute regarding an issue, a ruling shall be recorded in a few words in the minutes of the local government.
Amendments to the electoral register are not permitted with respect to a new domicile, unless the change in domicile has taken place five weeks at the latest before the election date and notification of a new domicile has reached [the National Registry]1)for their records prior to the same time limit, or if an application pursuant to item (b) of paragraph 2 of Article 1 asking to be listed on the electoral register has not been received by [the National Registry]1)prior to 1 December prior to the election date.
The local authority shall furthermore, right up to the election day, correct the electoral register if it receives information concerning deaths or that an individual has acquired, or as the case may be, lost Icelandic citizenship.
1)Act No. 50/2006, Article 21.
Article 28 The local authority shall immediately notify the individual concerned of any corrections made to the electoral register pursuant to Article 27, as well as the local authority for which the change is relevant.
The local authority shall at the same time inform the relevant electoral commission regarding corrections made to the electors register as well as the president of the senior electoral commission.
Article 29 If the electoral register has not been compiled or it has not been presented in good time or if the provisions of this Act have not been adhered to, then the district commissioner, as soon as he or she receives information thereon, shall undertake the necessary measures to immediately compile an electoral register and to correct whatever was lacking in compliance with the law.
Article 30 When elections to the Althing are to be held, the relevant senior electoral commission must be informed in writing of all candidatures no later than 12 noon fifteen days before the election day.
In the cases of all candidatures, care must be taken with respect to the candidate's name, ID number, position or title, and domicile so that there is no doubt as to who the candidates are who are up for election.
Article 31 The list of candidates must contain the names of double the number of candidates that there are parliamentary seats in the constituency, neither more nor less.
Article 32 Each list of candidates must be accompanied by a written declaration by all those on the list stating that they have permitted their names to be placed on the list. The list of candidates must also be accompanied by a written declaration of support for the list from voters in the relevant constituency. The sponsor's name, ID number, and domicile must be specified. The number of sponsors shall be a multiple of the number of parliamentary seats in the constituency, with 30 as a minimum and 40 as a maximum.
“Political organisations” in this Act means organisations that put forward candidates or have done so for the Althing elections. Each electoral list must be accompanied by a written declaration from its voters stating which political organisation the candidates on the list represent. All electoral lists that are put forward for the same political organisation will be matched together when the compensatory seats are allocated pursuant to Article 108. If the above declaration is missing the list will be considered a special candidature.
If the person who determines an electoral list or who validates the list according to the rules of a political organisation objects to an electoral list that puts forward candidates for the organisation, a ruling must be delivered stating that such an electoral list is not considered to be a list of candidates put forward by the organisation.
Article 33 No one may run for a parliamentary seat on more than one electoral list in the same Althing election.
The same voter may not sponsor more than one electoral list in the same Althing election.
Article 34 In the event that a list with more names than prescribed is submitted to a senior electoral commission, then the last names on the list exceeding the correct number of names shall be removed from the list.
In the event that a list has the name of a person without that person's accompanying written permission, or if a person has permitted their name in writing to be placed on more than one list, then the senior electoral commission shall remove that name from the list or the lists.
In the event that the senior electoral commission receives sponsors' lists where the same voter sponsors more than one candidature, then the voter will not be considered the sponsor of any of those.
Article 35 Candidates may cancel their approval for candidature up until the deadline for submitting candidatures.
Voters who have sponsored an electoral list cannot cancel their declaration of support after the candidature has been submitted to the senior electoral commission.
Article 36 It is not necessary that the eligibility of the candidates is proven before the senior electoral commission or before the National Electoral Commission, but Althing determines the eligibility of those candidates who are elected, while at the same time determining whether newly elected members of Althing have otherwise been duly put forward and elected.
Article 37 In the event that a candidate dies before the election takes place but after the deadline for candidatures has passed, i.e. during the next three 24-hour periods after the deadline for the candidatures, it will then be possible, if within one week and with a full half of the sponsors on the list demanding so, to replace the deceased person, provided that other general conditions for the candidature are met.
Distinguishing letters of the alphabet for political organisations
Article 38 The Ministry of Justice shall keep a list of letters of the alphabet for political organisations that put forward electoral candidates during the last general Althing election. The register shall be published through an advertisement no later than eight weeks before every general Althing election. If an election has been prescribed with such short notice that this will not be feasible, then this advertisement shall be published within three days after the election has been prescribed.
If a political organisation, which has not had a distinguishing letter of the alphabet assigned for its list, intends to put forward a list of candidates in an election to the Althing, it shall notify the Ministry of Justice no less than three days before the deadline for the announcement of candidacies. The announcement shall be signed by at least 300 voters. The list shall have a date and shall indicate each voter's name, ID number, and domicile. The name of a new political organisation may not be such as to cause possible confusion with that of an organisation that is already registered under paragraph 1. The Ministry of Justice shall immediately inform all political organisations that have been registered of any new organisations that have been announced and of their application for a distinguishing letter of the alphabet for their electoral lists. The Ministry shall decide which letters of the alphabet to allocate to new political organisations, and will take into account both their wishes and the letters of the alphabet that have been allocated to other organisations in previous elections. When an organisation that has been registered wishes to change its name, it shall inform the Ministry of Justice thereof by the same deadline.
Changes to previous advertisements by the Ministry and to appendices to the advertisement shall be published with a new advertisement, and the National Electoral Commission and the senior electoral commissions shall be notified of such changes.
Article 39 Each electoral list must be accompanied by a written declaration by the candidates on the list to the senior electoral commission indicating which two persons are the agents for the list. If the agents for the list are not identified or if they are prevented by necessity from fulfilling their role, then each of the two leading candidates on the list will be the proper agents for the list. These agents take care of the interests of the candidates on the electoral list when the lists are being reviewed and a ruling delivered concerning the list. The agents shall provide any such information concerning the lists that the senior electoral commission requests. They are entitled to attend or to grant a power of attorney to other persons to attend the election at individual polling stations and at the counting of votes. The agents are obligated to obey the meeting rules set by the electoral commission.
Article 40 Each political organisation that has put forward candidates is entitled to have two agents present when the National Electoral Commission delivers rulings pursuant to Article 44 with respect to which organisations the electoral lists that have been put forward belong to, as well as during all work of the National Electoral Commission regarding the allocation of parliamentary seats.
In the event of a dispute concerning whether or not an electoral list is to be considered linked to the political organisation that its sponsors wish, the National Electoral Commission shall then grant the sponsors an opportunity to appoint special agents to take care of their interests while the dispute is being resolved.
Ruling concerning candidature and advertisement
Article 41 When the deadline decided for candidatures has passed, the senior electoral commission holds a meeting the following day and the agents for the electoral lists shall be given an opportunity to attend. If there are then found to be defects with respect to the electoral lists, the relevant agents shall be provided with an opportunity to correct the lists and a time limit may be set for that purpose, as time and circumstances allow. If defects that the Senior Electoral Commission has pointed out are not corrected within the set time limit, it shall deliver a ruling as to whether a list of candidates should therefore be considered invalid. If there is a dispute among the senior electoral commission with respect to a ruling, then issues shall be decided by majority vote.
Article 42 If an electoral list is ruled to be invalid, a transcript of the ruling shall then immediately be delivered to the relevant agent or agents, including a transcript of the list that has been dismissed.
The agent may appeal against a ruling by the senior electoral commission to the National Electoral Commission within 24 hours from when it was delivered.
Article 43 When the senior electoral commission has delivered a ruling concerning an electoral list, it shall mark the list of the political organisation with the same distinguishing letter of the alphabet as was used for that organisation in the Ministry of Justice's advertisement, cf. Article 38.
If a political organisation has more than one list in the same constituency they shall then be marked A, AA ..., B, BB ..., etc., as applicable.
Article 44 As soon as the senior electoral commission has completed marking electoral lists it shall send them to the National Electoral Commission including all accompanying documents, cf. Article 32. The National Electoral Commission shall then immediately take up for consideration and for ruling the question of to which political organisation the electoral lists that are put forward for the election should be considered to belong. The National Electoral Commission shall also take care that lists that should belong together, cf. Article 32, are marked with the same letter of the alphabet in all the constituencies. The agents of political organisations shall have an opportunity to be present when the National Electoral Commission convenes for that purpose, cf. Article 40.
When the National Electoral Commission has received materials from all senior electoral commissions and it has processed the lists in that manner, it shall immediately announce the lists to the public through advertisements in the Government Gazette and in newspapers. The advertisement shall specify the letter of the alphabet for each list, for which political organisation it is put forth, and the names of the candidates in each list in alphabetical order, their position or title, and domicile. At the same time the National Electoral Commission shall announce, through the publication of an advertisement in the State Broadcasting Service (radio and television), the letter of the alphabet for each list and for which political organisation it is put forward. These advertisements shall be published no later than ten days prior to the date of the election.
The National Electoral Commission shall then resend the lists, including a statement on the processing of the case, to the senior electoral commissions. At the same time, the National Electoral Commission shall send the lists to the Ministry of Justice as they were published.
Article 45 If a candidate has died and another person has put his or her own candidature forward in lieu of the former as per authorisation and in compliance with the conditions of Article 37, the relevant senior electoral commission and the Ministry of Justice must be notified immediately. The National Electoral Commission shall publish the list thus changed in the Government Gazette and in newspapers, cf. paragraph 2 of Article 44. At the same time the National Electoral Commission shall be published in the State Broadcasting Service (the radio) an advertisement on the change made.
Article 46 The Ministry of Justice shall provide electoral materials for pre-election voting. It shall also provide instructions on the voting procedure. These materials shall be available to those in charge of voting outside polling stations. District commissioners are in charge of providing electoral materials to chairmen of local councils and to the sea captains of vessels sailing in waters outside Iceland or on distant fishing grounds, cf. Article 60, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs shall be in charge of providing these materials to election officials abroad.
Election officials shall keep the electoral materials in a secure place.
Article 47 Electoral materials used in pre-election voting consist of: ballot paper, envelopes for ballot papers, covering letters and postal envelopes, and also stamps with the letters of the alphabet of the various electoral lists.
The ballot paper and the envelope for ballot paper shall have printed-on instructions indicating that these are a ballot paper and an envelope for a ballot paper. The covering letters and the postal envelopes shall be made so that the information prescribed by the law may be easily written on them.
The Ministry of Justice provides further details for the making of these electoral materials.
Article 48 Sea captains, who act as election officials at pre-election voting, shall take care that the vessel has ample supplies of electoral materials for pre-election voting before every Althing election.
It is furthermore the duty of a captain of an Icelandic vessel, when a general Althing election has been ordered (or a repeat election as the case may be), to inform the ship's crew of the election date as soon as they know of the election.
Article 49 Sea captains who receive electoral materials for pre-election voting shall sign and declare to the relevant district commissioner on their word of honour that the elections onboard their vessels will take place in compliance with the provisions of this Act.
A special election official (according to paragraph 2 of Article 59) who receives the materials for the pre-election voting shall also sign and hand over to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or the relevant diplomatic agent the same type of statement.
Article 50 The Ministry of Justice has ballot papers prepared to be used for voting at polling sessions when the announcement has been received from the National Electoral Commission according to paragraph 3 of Article 44.
Ballot papers are to be made of quality paper through which print or writing does not show, weighing at least 125g/m2. The colour of ballot papers shall be changed for each election to the Althing.
Article 51 In general elections, as well as for repeat elections in connection with general elections, the election will not be cancelled, even if only one electoral list has been put forward.
Article 52 Ballot papers to be used at polling sessions shall be prepared as follows: the electoral lists shall be printed side by side, in the order of their distinguishing letters of the alphabet. Each list shall be assigned a space c. 6 cm wide, the length depending on the full legal number of candidates. [A square box shall be printed in front of the letter of the alphabet for each list. The letter shall be large and distinguishable and be placed in the centre space above the list. Directly below the letter of the alphabet shall be the names of the candidates on the list, in correct order and with their occupational status or professional title and address, if this is considered necessary to distinguish them individually.]1)Lists shall be separated by vertical lines printed in bold, and there shall be a space of at least ½ cm across in front of the names on each list.
The name of the political organisation for which the list is put forward shall be stated; this shall be done by printing, in clear type beneath the letter of the alphabet on the list, but above the names of the candidates: List of ... (name of the political organisation).
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 7.
Article 53 Ballot papers shall be folded so that the blank side faces outwards.
Only sufficient ballot papers for sending to the local electoral commission shall be prepared, and the regional electoral commission shall make sure that unauthorised persons do not see the ballot papers before it sends them.
Article 54 Normally, ballot papers shall be prepared not later than seven days before election day, when the Ministry of Justice shall send them to the senior electoral commission.
The senior electoral commission shall then send by secure means to each local electoral commission a number of ballot papers equal to the number of voters on the electoral register in their polling ward plus at least an additional 10% extra papers. Where there are special electoral commissions elected pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 15 ballot papers may be delivered to them, unsorted with regard to each polling ward; these will then take care of the delivery of the ballot paper to local electoral commissions.
The ballot paper shall be sent in quality packaging, which the senior electoral commission shall seal using its official seal in such a secure manner that it will not be possible to open the packaging and to retrieve the ballot papers without breaking the seal.
The senior electoral commission will make a report on ballot papers that have not dispatched to the local electoral commission when the votes are counted.
Article 55 Concurrent with sending ballot papers to the local electoral commission, the senior electoral commission shall have Braille cards accompanying each lot, cf. paragraph 2 of Article 81, as well as a notification concerning the electoral list, an election guidebook, and a special edition of this Act, cf. Article 77.
This consignment shall be accompanied by strong envelopes with the address of the senior electoral commission printed on them [or, as the case may be, the regional electoral commission]1). Each local electoral commission shall be given six envelopes with the following text printed on their lower right-hand corners: two of these envelopes shall have the text, ‘Spoiled ballots' two of them the text, ‘Disputed ballots' and two of them the text, ‘Left-over ballots'.
These envelopes must each be large enough to hold all of the ballot papers from each of these categories; the other envelopes function as spare envelopes. In addition to this, the senior electoral commission shall have a large and strong envelope with its address printed on it [or, as the case may be, the regional electoral commission]; the name of the polling ward should be printed on the front upper corner of this envelope, and the other envelopes should be placed inside it. The senior electoral commission shall at the same time send to each local electoral commission a certified election log book to be used during the election, if it does not possess one already, or appropriate forms, cf. paragraph 1 of Article 19.
[The senior electoral commission shall also send to the regional electoral commission the proper envelopes, cf. paragraphs 2 and 3, as applicable.]1)
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 8.
Article 56 Voters who are not able to attend during a polling session on election day may vote outside of the regular polling session, according to the rules laid down in this Act.
Article 57 Pre-election voting shall commence as soon as possible after the election date has been advertised, but not earlier than eight weeks before election day. After that time and until the election date the voter has the right to vote outside of the regular polling session. The vote is considered to have been cast on the day when the covering letter was dated.
Article 58 Pre-election voting shall take place at the following places:
- At district commissioners' offices, in main offices and branch offices. District commissioners may decide that pre-election voting at the official address of the commission shall take place at a special location outside the main office, and also that voting shall take place at other locations in their administrative areas. The commissioners decide which of their commission's staff shall be the election officials and the commissioners commission other stewards for these tasks
- At the offices of the chairmen of local councils, or at their homes.
A voter who is undergoing treatment in a hospital, or is a resident of a hospital, old people's home, or care institution for disabled people, may cast his or her vote at this institution. The same applies to prisons and the inmates of prisons.
A voter who is not able to attend a polling session on the election date due to illness, disability, or childbirth, may cast his or her vote in a private home, unless the opportunity arises to cast the vote at an institution, pursuant to paragraph 2. Requests for permission to vote at a private home shall be in writing and shall be supported by a certificate from a person of legal age regarding the situation of the voter; they shall also be submitted to the relevant election official no later than 4pm four days prior to the election day. The election official can appoint two stewards as his or her agents to manage the casting of votes by the voters.
Election officials shall announce where and when votes may be cast, and this shall be done in the way in which official announcements are publicised in the locality in question. The procedure and attending hours shall be organised so that the polling will be carried out in as efficient a manner as possible. The casting of votes according to paragraph 2 shall take place during a time chosen by the election official in consultancy with the management of the institution.
The Ministry of Justice shall lay down further rules1)concerning the procedures for the casting of votes pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 3. Such casting of votes may, however, not take place until three weeks before the election day. The agents for the lists of candidates, cf. Article 39, must be informed as to when the casting of votes according to paragraph 2 takes place.
Article 59 Abroad, the pre-election casting of votes shall take place in the offices of Icelandic embassies or permanent missions to international organisations, in consular offices or in the offices of honorary consulates, as determined in further detail by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs can and may also decide that voting is to take place at other locations abroad.
The election officials managing voting abroad are the heads of embassies and permanent missions, career consuls, other diplomatic agents according to the decision of the relevant head, as well as other embassy staff, the staff of permanent missions, consulate staff according to the decision of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, honorary consuls according to further decision by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, as well as special election officials appointed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs shall announce where and when polling may take place abroad.
Article 60 Voters who are members of the crew or passengers on board an Icelandic vessel on sailing routes abroad or on remote fishing grounds may cast their votes on board the vessel.
The captain or a person appointed by the captain shall be the election official.
Article 61 If an election official is an electoral candidate, that official shall give up his or her post and some other eligible individual perform it.
The casting of votes outside regular polling sessions may not take place at the home of an electoral candidate.
Article 62 Elections outside of regular polling sessions are only valid if the prescribed electoral materials are used.
Polling takes place by the voter stamping or writing the letter of the alphabet of the list he or she wishes to vote for on the ballot paper; the voter has the right to indicate a preference regarding the order of the candidates on the list.
Article 63 Voters who wish to cast their votes outside of the regular polling session are required to prove their identity to the election official by, for instance, producing an identification document or an ID card, or by satisfying the opinion of the election official in another manner. Election officials shall maintain special registers of those who cast their votes at their stations, cf. paragraph 1 of Article 66.
Following this, the voter will receive electoral materials. The voter shall then, without assistance and without any other person seeing, write his or her vote on the ballot paper in the manner described in paragraph 2 of Article 62 and place the ballot paper in its envelope. The voter then writes an address on the covering letter and signs it in the presence of the election official, who witnesses the casting of the vote.
If the voter informs the election official that he or she is not able to write on the ballot paper in the prescribed manner, or write an address on the covering letter and sign it because of loss of eyesight or because the voter is not able to use his or her hand, the election official shall provide assistance in doing so in private, provided that the official is bound by professional secrecy not to divulge what has transpired between the two. The assistance rendered shall be indicated in the register according to paragraph 1 and in the covering letter specifying the reasons for such assistance. Assistance to write on the ballot paper shall only be rendered if the voter is able to state to the person rendering the assistance unequivocally how the voter wishes to cast his or her vote. It is not permitted to offer assistance to those who are in need of such aid.
Finally the ballot envelope, including the covering letter, must be placed in the postal envelope which must then be carefully closed. The envelope must then be addressed to the chairman of the local council, the district commissioner, or the electoral commission in the constituency where the voter considers himself or herself to be on the electoral register. The voter's name, ID number, and domicile must also be written on the postal envelope.
Article 64 In the event that a voter spoils a ballot paper, then another ballot paper can be provided to replace the old one.
Article 65 A voter who casts a vote with an election official in a constituency where the voter is on the electoral register, and who leaves a letter with the vote, shall by himself or herself place the letter in a regular ballot box. The ballot box shall be sealed by the election official along with the relevant electoral commission, and the agents for the lists may place their seals on the box.
Other voters shall themselves manage and pay for the sending of their ballot letters. The election official is however obligated, if the voter so wishes, to post the letter.
It is sufficient to bring a letter with a pre-election ballot into any polling ward of the constituency where the voter is on the electoral register.
Article 66 The election official shall register on a special list the names of the voters who cast their votes with that official, cf. Article 63, as well as the domicile of the voters, their ID numbers, and on which date the ballot took place.
A letter with a vote, which a voter leaves with an election official, cf. paragraph 1 of Article 65, must be numbered and recorded in a continuous numerical order by the election official. A letter with a vote, which an election official receives, shall be registered and numbered in the same manner, and it must be indicated which voter it is from and when and by whom it was delivered. These letters must be kept in the ballot box.
The election official then sends the ballot box, as well as the registers, to the relevant electoral commission in a timely manner, so that the box has been received by the electoral commission before the polling session is called to order.
The agents for the lists shall have access to the registers referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2.
Article 67 A voter may generally demand from anyone who keeps a letter with his or her vote, if it is not kept in a sealed ballot box, that the letter be handed over to that voter, up until the time when the vote has been validated by the local electoral commission.
Article 68 The polling station for each polling ward is decided by the municipal government. There may be more than one polling wards in every polling station.
The polling stations must be announced to the public prior to the polling session with sufficient notice.
Article 69 Each polling ward shall be furnished with a sufficient number of polling booths. The polling booth shall be so furnished that it is possible for voters to cast their votes there without others being able to see for whom they are voting. Each polling booth shall have a small table where it is possible to write.
Furthermore, the polling room shall be equipped with a sufficiently large ballot box, provided by the municipal government. The polling box shall be designed in such a manner that it is not possible to retrieve a ballot paper from the box without opening the box, and it must be possible to lock the box. The Minister of Justice shall issue further rules regarding the size and design of the ballot boxes.
The senior electoral commission shall take care that there are at all times sufficient numbers of ballot boxes available in the constituency.
Voting at the polling session
Article 70 Polling sessions shall be called to order at polling stations at 9am, but the electoral commission may nonetheless decide that polling sessions commence later, however no later than 12 noon. A fully occupied electoral commission shall be present when the polling session is called to order. If the whole commission is not present the alternates shall take their seats, if they are also not present the person or those members of the electoral commission who are present shall appoint an honourable individual or individuals from among the voters to assume a seat on the electoral commission, and they shall keep their seats until the others arrive.
The commencement of the polling session shall be announced with sufficient notice, and this shall be done in the way in which official announcements are publicised in the locality in question.
Article 71 During the election process the electoral commission shall sit at a table in the polling room. At no time is it permitted for more than one member of the electoral commission to leave the room at the same time, and the person leaving shall delegate his or her task to another individual from the electoral commission unless there is an alternate available.
Article 72 The election process starts with the president of the electoral commission presenting the package of ballot papers, which has been received from the senior electoral commission; care should be taken to observe if the seals are whole and unbroken and if the package bears signs of having been opened. This should be noted in the election log book and the electoral commission and the agents should sign their names below. Next the president shall open the package and care should be taken to make an observation as to whether the number of the papers corresponds to the number specified in the letter from the senior electoral commission. This should be mentioned in the election log book and the electoral commission and the agents should sign their names below.
Article 73 In the event that the electoral commission has received a ballot box with the ballots cast outside of a regular polling session, the commission should then check if the seals on the boxes are whole and undamaged. The president then opens the ballot box and the electoral commission then counts the votes and compares them with the accompanying registers, cf. Article 66. The electoral commission shall then open the postal envelope and check if the pre-election ballot should be validated, cf. Article 91. If the ballot is to be validated, a special mark shall be placed temporarily by the name of the voter on the electoral register, but the unopened ballot paper envelope with the accompanying covering letter shall be placed again in the postal envelope, which should be taken aside and kept while the voting takes place. If the pre-election ballot is not to be validated, the ballot-paper envelope and covering letter shall be kept in the same manner, but the reason for the ballot not being validated shall be written on the postal envelope.
Covering letters that the electoral commission may have received or receives during the voting shall be numbered in a continuous order, and the total number shall be indicated in the election log book. These ballots shall be handled as described in paragraph 1.
If a voter is not on the electoral register in the polling ward (municipality), the electoral commission shall inquire where the voter is listed on an electoral register and whether it is possible to bring the covering letter to the relevant polling ward; otherwise the letter shall be kept until the voting ends.
In municipalities where a special senior electoral commission is elected, the electoral commission may begin the classification of ballots pursuant to paragraph 1 the day before election day, so that the ballot letter will be delivered to the correct polling ward on election day.
Article 74 The electoral commission checks which voters listed on the electoral register have waived their right to vote in the polling ward for the purpose of voting in another polling ward, cf. Article 80, and writes a comment in this regard next to the name of the pertinent person in the electoral register.
Article 75 The president of the electoral commission and one of the co-commissioners shall each keep in front of them one copy of the electoral register. They shall place a mark by the name of each voter as soon as that voter's right to vote has been exercised.
Article 76 Before the voting starts the electoral commission and the agents shall make sure that the ballot box is empty and then lock it.
Article 77 An announcement regarding electoral lists in the constituency shall be prominently displayed in the election room, as well as in other locations at the polling stations, with the names of the political organisations, the letters of the alphabet, and the names of the candidates in the same order as on the ballot paper. In the same manner the election guidelines provided by the Ministry of Justice should be displayed there.
Each polling ward shall keep a copy of this Act, which the Ministry of Justice will have published, including a copy of the Constitution in a convenient edition with notes and instructions, if deemed necessary.
Article 78 Voters shall cast their votes in the order in which they report.
The electoral commission may decide that apart from the persons working on the conduct of the elections, no one apart from those voters intending to cast their votes is allowed in the election room. The electoral commission may in addition limit the number of voters in the election room, if this is needed to maintain order.
The electoral commission shall otherwise see to it that banned election propaganda or election sabotage, or other activities that disrupt or prevent the conduct of the elections at the polling station, shall not take place at the polling station and in its vicinity.
Article 79 Voters are required to prove their identity to the electoral commission, for instance, by stating their name and producing an identification document or an ID card, or in another manner accepted as satisfactory in the opinion of the electoral commission. If a voter is thus entitled to cast a vote according to the electoral register, the electoral commission then hands the voter a ballot paper.
Article 80 No one who is listed on the electoral register may be prevented from casting a vote by the electoral commission, unless a voter has waived his or her right to vote in that particular polling ward and has cast it at another location.
[The electoral commission may not allow anyone who is not on the electoral register to cast a vote unless one of the following two conditions are met:
1. The voter produces a certificate signed by the president of a municipal government or by the administrator of a municipality stating that the voter waives his or her right to vote in the place where he or she is listed on the electoral register, provided that the electoral commission of the polling station where the voter intends to exercise the right to vote has received notification concerning which voters the municipal government has issued a certificate for.
2. The voter signs a request on a special form waiving the right to vote at the polling ward where his or her name appears on the electoral register, and the electoral commission in that polling station where the voter wishes to exercise the right to vote confirms such waiver with the signature of the president or two members of the electoral commission.]1)
[The electoral commission may not confirm certificates or applications for a waiver of the right to vote unless it can be proven, in a manner which the electoral commission considers valid, that the name of the voter is on another electoral register in another polling ward in the same constituency and that he or she has not exercised the right to vote there. A note shall be entered in the electoral register, where the name of the voter is found, stating where he or she exercises the right to vote, and this should be mentioned in the election log book. The waiver shall be entered in the election log book of the local electoral commission where the voter exercises the right to vote, and the certificate shall accompany, in the original, the election log book of the polling ward where it is presented and used, and all this shall be sent to the senior electoral commission.]1)
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 9.
Article 81 When the voter has received the ballot paper, the voter takes it into the polling booth, where the voter is permitted to stay alone, and the voter then brings it to the table that is there. The table shall be outfitted with no less than two ordinary dark graphite pencils; these are provided by the electoral commission, which takes care that they are well sharpened at all times.
There must also be a card that is of the same size as a ballot paper with raised list-letters-of-the-alphabet and Braille lettering, with a window in front of each letter and a pocket on the reverse so that blind people can make a cross through the window in front of the list for which they are voting, thus casting their vote in private and without assistance.
Article 82 [Voters cast their votes by marking a cross in the check box with a pencil on the ballot paper in front of the letter of the alphabet of the list for which they wish to vote.]1)
If a voter wishes to change the ranking of candidates in the list for which he or she votes, he or she may do so by putting the number 1 in front of the name he or she wishes to place at the top, the number 2 in front of the name he or she wishes to have in second place, the number 3 in front of the name he or she wishes to have in third place, etc., as far as he or she wishes to change anything.
If a voter wishes to reject candidates on the list for which he or she is voting, this may be done by crossing out their names.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 10.
Article 83 Voters may not make any changes in the lists for which they are not voting, neither crossing out names on those lists nor altering the ranking of the names.
Article 84 No matter what they vote for, voters must be careful not to make any marks on the ballot paper other than those described in this Act.
Article 85 When the voter has marked the ballot paper as described above, the voter folds it together the same way that it was folded when it was handed to him or her, with the printed surfaces facing inwards; the voter goes out of the polling booth and up to the polling box and puts the ballot paper into the box in the presence of the election officials. The voter shall ensure that no one can see for whom he or she has voted.
Article 86 If the voter informs the election official that he or she is not able to write on the ballot paper in the prescribed manner because of loss of eyesight or because the voter is not able to use his or her hand, an election official of the voter's choice shall provide assistance in doing so in the balloting booth, provided that the official is bound by professional secrecy not to disclose what has transpired between the two. This assistance should be mentioned in the election log book and the reasons for it should be mentioned. Assistance to write on the ballot paper shall only be rendered if the voter is able to explain to the person rendering the assistance in an unequivocal manner for whom the voter wishes to cast his or her vote. It is not permitted to offer assistance to those who are in need of such aid.
Article 87 If a voter lets other people see for whom he or she has voted, the ballot paper shall be invalid and may not be put into the ballot box. If a voter makes a mistake or puts the wrong mark on the paper, or scribbles on the paper by mistake, he shall be entitled to have a new ballot paper. The voter shall then hand the first ballot paper back to the election official.
After putting the ballot paper into the ballot box the voter leaves the election room.
Article 88 A voter who has cast a pre-election vote outside of the regular polling session can also cast a vote at the polling session, in which case the voter's pre-election ballot paper will then not be counted in the election.
Article 89 Polling may not be ended until eight hours have passed from when the polling session began and not earlier than half an hour has passed from when the last time a voter appeared. However, polling may be ended when all who are listed on the electoral register have cast their votes, and after five hours if the whole electoral commission and the agents agree thereto, provided that half an hour has passed from when the last time a voter appeared.
Polling sessions should, however, not be ended later than 10pm on the election day. Those voters who have presented themselves before that time are, however, entitled to vote.
Article 90 After the polling has ended the electoral commission, in the presence of the agents of the electoral lists, will again survey the pre-election votes that were received by the electoral commission and which have not been taken back.
If a person whose ballot is being considered is listed on the electoral register, is entitled to vote, and has not cast a vote at the polling session, the electoral commission shall place its mark by the elector's name on the electoral register.
If the covering letter is not considered valid, cf. Article 91, it should be addressed as stated in paragraph 1 of Article 73.
If a voter, who has dispatched a pre-election ballot, is not on the electoral register in the polling ward, the electoral commission shall make a special note thereof in the election log book and shall then send such covering letters separately to the senior electoral commission [or the regional electoral commission].1)
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 11.
Article 91 Pre-election ballots shall not be considered valid:
- if the sender is not on the electoral register,
- if the sender has already cast his or her vote,
- if the sender has waived the right to vote in that particular polling ward, cf. Article 80,
- if the sender has died before the election day,
- if the postal envelope contains more than one accompanying letter and one ballot-paper envelope,
- if it is evident that the prescribed materials that the Ministry of Justice has had made have not been used,
- If the rules laid down for pre-election ballots have not been adhered to, or
- if the vote has not been cast within the period referred to in Article 57, and in paragraph 5 of Article 58.
In the event that there is more than one ballot that was cast outside of the polling session arriving from the same voter and which come up for consideration then only the ballot that was cast last shall be considered.
Article 92 If there is dispute among the electoral commission or between the electoral commission and the agent of an electoral list as to whether a pre-election ballot is valid or not valid, the subject matter of the dispute should be noted down in detail in the election log book and the ballot paper envelope should be placed unopened, including the covering letter, back into the postal envelope, and this should be sent to the senior electoral commission [or to the regional electoral commission].1)
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 12.
Article 93 The electoral commission shall put ballot-paper envelopes, the validity of which are not disputed, back into the ballot box without opening them.
Article 94 The agents of the electoral lists are entitled to observe that the conduct of the electoral commission and the voters complies with the law during the election process, and every agent may reprimand the electoral commission for that which the agent deems in need of improvement.
If an agent thinks that there is something illegal about the election process and is not able to get it corrected, then the agent will be entitled to have the matter in dispute noted down immediately in the election log book, and then Althing will later pass a resolution as to how this will affect the elections.
In case the electoral commission declines to book some matter for an agent with respect to the election process, the agent then has the right to make the entry himself or herself and to sign it in his or her own name.
Article 95 When the voting ends and the ballot envelopes that have been considered valid have been placed back in the ballot box, the president shall at the same time prepare a special envelope with all the ballot papers that are spoiled, cf. Article 87, and in another envelope all the pre-election ballot session votes that are disputed, cf. Article 92, and in the third envelope all the unused left-over papers. When the envelopes have been closed, all three of them shall be placed in the principal envelope, including the key to the ballot box, and the envelope is then closed. The envelopes that the senior electoral commission has sent for this purpose are to be used for this purpose.
Following this, when the entries in the election log book have been completed and the log book has been signed by the electoral commission and by the agents of the lists, if they are present, the president shall finish up everything: the ballot box, the postal envelope and the election log book or a copy from the log book which has been signed by the electoral commission and the agents from the lists, if they have been present, as well as the pre-election votes that are to be moved to another polling ward, cf. paragraph 4 of Article 90. These shall all be placed in a package that has to be sealed by the electoral commission, and the agents may place their seals on the packaging. The materials shall be addressed to the senior electoral commission [or, as the case may be, to the regional commission, cf. paragraph 1 of Article 97],1)and sent to them immediately in a secure manner. The senior commission [or the regional commission]1)shall acknowledge the receipt.
After the electoral commission has then arranged for the electoral materials, the sealed electoral materials and the electoral commission's seal may not be kept in the custody of the same individual.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 13.
Article 96 [If the senior electoral commission or the regional electoral commission is present at the polling station and the counting of votes takes place immediately, the electoral commission may deliver to the senior electoral commission or the regional electoral commission the unsealed ballot box in the presence of the agents of the lists.]1)
As soon as the voting has ended and the electoral commission has prepared the necessary statements from the electoral register, it shall send those copies of the electoral register that were used during the voting in sealed packaging to the senior electoral commission [or, as the case may be, to the regional electoral commission].1)
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 14.
Election results in the constituencies
Article 97 [The senior electoral commission may decide that, in addition to a counting by the commission, counting may also be carried out by the regional electoral commission at another location in the constituency.]1)
The senior electoral commission shall, with sufficient notice prior to the election, announce the time and place when the commission [or the regional electoral commission]1)convenes for the opening of the ballot boxes and the counting of the votes. Local electoral commissions are obligated to make sure that the ballot boxes and the accompanying electoral materials are handed over to the senior electoral commission [or the regional electoral commission]1)at that time, unless this cannot be done because of excusable absence. Counting should always take place as soon as possible in the opinion of the senior electoral commission [or the regional electoral commission].1)
If the voting is postponed pursuant to Article 114, the counting of votes must never take place until voting has ended everywhere.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 15.
Article 98 The counting of votes shall take place in public so that the voters have an opportunity to attend as space allows.
If the agents of one of the lists are not attending the counting session, the senior electoral commission [or the regional electoral commission] shall summon a group of honourable persons from the same political organisation, if possible, in order to attend to the interests of the list.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 16.
Article 99 Then, in the presence of these persons, the senior electoral commission [or the regional electoral commission]1)will open the packages with the ballots from each polling ward, but only after they have had an opportunity to make sure that all seals are unbroken. The senior electoral commission [or the regional electoral commission]1)shall check if the number of voters who have cast their votes according to the election log books of the local electoral commissions corresponds with the number of delivered ballot papers and the notes that were entered by the local electoral commissions. If the senior electoral commission [or the regional electoral commission]1)has received a letter with pre-election votes pursuant to paragraph 4 of Article 90, it should be treated as stated in paragraph 2 of the same Article. As soon as each ballot box is opened, the ballot papers contained therein shall be tipped without being inspected into a suitable empty container, but care must be taken that ballot papers from individual polling wards are mixed well together.
The ballot papers shall then be removed from the container in the presence of the agents of the lists, listed according to the letters of the alphabet of the lists which have been marked on each ballot paper, and then counted under the direction of the senior electoral commission [or the regional electoral commission].1)
It is permitted to begin the classification of the votes and to prepare counting them in camera before the polling session ends.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 17.
Article 100 A vote shall be considered invalid:
- if the ballot paper is blank,
- if it is not clear which list has been marked or if it is not perfectly clear if what is printed on the pre-election ballot paper does mean any of the lists that are put forth,
- if more than one letter of the alphabet has been marked, if the names of more than one list have been marked with numbers, or if more than one letter of the alphabet has been written on the pre-election ballot paper,
- if writing on the ballot paper exceeds what has been prescribed, or if strange markings have been put on the ballot paper that may be surmised as having been put there by intent in order to make the paper recognisable,
- if there is something other than one ballot paper,
- if the ballot paper is different from what the electoral commission or the election official has handed out lawfully.
Article 101 A vote shall not be considered invalid, even though it is spoilt, if it is obvious for whom it was meant, unless it is obviously contrary to the above provisions. Thus a vote should be considered valid in the following circumstances: even though it is not marked [in a square area by the letter of the alphabet for the list of candidates rather than outside of it]1); even though the cross marking is deformed; even though the word “list” unnecessarily accompanies the letter of the alphabet for the list on a pre-election ballot paper; and even though the name of a political organisation is in place of the alphabet letter for the list, etc.
An electoral list in a certain constituency will be considered to have the vote, even though writing the letter of the alphabet of the list was neglected, if a name or names on it are numbered or a cross has been written by a name, provided there are no other defects found.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 18.
Article 102 A pre-election vote that was cast for a list prior to changes made to the list according to Article 37 shall be counted as cast for the list thus changed.
Article 103 [If the senior electoral commission or, as the case may be, the regional electoral commission, and the agents of the lists agree that some ballot paper is invalid, then the paper shall be considered invalid. In the event that there is a dispute concerning the validity of the ballot paper such disputed papers shall be ruled on as soon as they appear. The number of ballot papers that are invalid and the reasons therefore shall be booked in the record of minutes.
If there is a dispute within the regional electoral commission or between the regional electoral commission and some agent as to whether a ballot paper is valid or invalid, then the regional electoral commission shall send it to the senior electoral commission, which shall render a ruling with regard to its validity.
If a dispute emerges between the members of the senior electoral commission regarding the validity of a ballot paper then the decision shall be decided by majority vote. In the event that there is a dispute between the senior electoral commission and one of the agents with regard to the validity or invalidity of a ballot paper, then these ballot papers shall be placed in two special envelopes; into one go the papers which the electoral commission has ruled are valid, and into the other the papers that it has ruled invalid.
When the votes have been added up under the watchful supervision of the agents, the regional electoral commission presents the result of its counting to the senior electoral commission, which enters the results of the election into the record of the minutes and announces it to those present. It should be ensured that the sum total of the votes corresponds to the number of those who have cast their votes in the constituency according to the reports of the local electoral commissions, and that everything corresponds to the sum of the left-over papers.
If the counting was done by the regional electoral commission, it shall, after having completed its commission, send all used ballot papers under seal to the senior electoral commission, and the valid and invalid ballot papers shall be kept separate. In addition, it will send under seal to the senior electoral commission the following items: those pre-election ballots that are to go to the polling ward that comes under the senior electoral commission, cf. paragraph 4 of Article 90; all the electoral registers in sealed packaging; the election log books of the local electoral commissions which it has received; and also its own record of minutes. The senior electoral commission shall handle these materials in the same manner as those that are in its custody.]1)
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 19.
Article 104 After the counting, the envelopes with the disputed ballots shall be closed with the senior electoral commission's seal, and the agents of the lists are also entitled to place their seals thereon. The senior electoral commission sends a transcript of its record of minutes regarding the election, including the disputed ballot papers, to the Ministry of Justice, which the Ministry of Justice presents, with the same marks on them as when the papers were received, to the Althing at the commencement of its session.
Next the senior electoral commission shall place all used ballot papers under seal and the valid and invalid ballot papers shall be kept separately. The ballot papers shall be kept until the Althing has ruled on the validity of the election, cf. Article 120, provided that there is no need for them because of a complaint that has been addressed to the Chief of Police. Then the ballot papers must be destroyed and a statement thereon must be recorded in the senior electoral commission's record of minutes.
The electoral commission shall then pack all electoral registers inside a sealed package and send them to the Ministry of Justice, which will keep them for one year, following which time it shall destroy them.
Article 105 In each constituency all the votes which each electoral list gets shall be counted, and then the number of votes for each list. Furthermore, the senior electoral commission shall calculate the number of votes for each candidate according to Article 110.
The Senior electoral commission shall immediately send to the National Electoral Commission a report concerning vote numbers. It shall indicate the number of voters on the electoral register, the number of votes cast for each electoral list, and the numbers of votes for each candidate. The National Electoral Commission provides the senior electoral commissions with the forms for these reports.
[If a package of ballots from one of the polling wards has not been received by the senior electoral commission or, as the case may be, from the regional electoral commission, at the time referred to in Article 97, the election official nonetheless opens the ballot box and other electoral materials at the pre-announced time.]1)The senior electoral commission shall, however, not send a report on numbers of votes to the National Electoral Commission pursuant to paragraph 2 until the votes from the missing package have been counted. The agents of the lists shall be informed, as far as is feasible, as to when the package will be opened in order to be able to attend.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 20.
Allocation of parliamentary seats
Article 106 When the National Electoral Commission has received all the reports concerning the election results from the constituencies after the general Althing elections, cf. Article 105, it shall convene to allocate the parliamentary seats, the constituency seats and the adjustment seats. The National Electoral Commission shall advertise with sufficient notice where and when it shall convene for this purpose, so that the agents for those political organisations that put forward lists of candidates, cf. Article 39, have an opportunity to attend.
Article 107 In order to find out how many candidates have been elected in a constituency from each list the following procedure shall be applied:
- The number of votes cast for each list of candidates is divided by the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. The conclusive figures are recorded for each list.
- The first constituency seat is allocated to the list with the largest conclusive figure. This conclusive figure is then cancelled. The second constituency seat is then allocated to the list which now has the largest conclusive figure. This process is continued until as many seats as were up for election have been allocated, cf. paragraph 2 of Article 8.
- If two or more conclusive figures are equal when these are used according to item 2 above, then the order in which they are used shall be determined by lot.
Article 108 When adjustment seats are allocated, only the political organisations that have received at least five per cent of valid votes cast for the whole country may be considered.
To establish how many adjustment seats are to be allocated to a political organisation that meets the conditions of paragraph 1, and which of its lists of candidates is to receive a adjustment seat, the number of votes cast for the organisation in the country as a whole and the number of constituency seats allocated to it shall be counted, in accordance with Article 107.
Then the following rules shall be applied with respect to this particular organisation:
- The number of votes cast for the organisation is divided by the number of constituency seats, first by adding the number 1, then the number 2, then the number 3, etc. The conclusive figures are referred to as the national ranking numbers of the organisation.
- A list shall be drawn up of the two seats of each list of candidates that came closest to receiving an allocation in the constituencies according to Article 107. For each of these seats, the proportion of the conclusive figure for the seat according to item 1 of Article 107 of all the valid votes cast in the constituency shall be recorded.
- The highest national ranking number (according to item 1 of this paragraph) which has not already been cancelled shall be found. A compensatory seat shall be allocated to the political organisation possessing that countrywide votes; specifically, to its candidate list with the highest proportional index under item 2. The countrywide votes and the proportional index shall then both be cancelled.
- If two or more national ranking number or proportional indices are equal when these are used according to item 3 above, then the order in which they are used shall be determined by lot.
- When adjustment seats have been allocated for each constituency according to paragraph 2 of Article 8, the proportional indices for all lists in the constituencies shall be cancelled.
- If all the proportional indices of a political organisation have been removed, then its national ranking number shall also be cancelled.
- The provisions of item 3 shall be applied as often as necessary until the allocation of all the adjustment seats is complete, cf. paragraph 2 of Article 8.
Article 109 Candidates who receive a adjustment seat are considered members of Althing for the constituency where they are on the electoral list and in the order in which seats are allocated according to Article 108.
A list in a constituency, which has had a member or members of Althing elected according to Articles 107 and 108, is entitled to an equal number of deputy members of Althing.
Article 110 Only candidates who occupy the uppermost places on each list will be considered as members or deputy members of the Althing for each constituency, i.e. twice as many as were allocated to each list according to the election results (cf. Articles 107 and 108), yet never fewer than three. This is known as the ranking number of the list.
In order to find which of these candidates has been elected, the National Electoral Commission calculates the number of votes for the candidates under consideration according to paragraph 1. A candidate who occupies the 1st place on an unaltered ballot paper, or who is ranked in that place on an altered ballot paper, receives one vote. The candidate who in the same way is in 2nd place receives a fraction of a vote as follows: the denominator is the ranking number, while the numerator is that number reduced by 1. The numerator is then reduced by 1 for each successive place.
The candidate who receives the largest number of votes on each list under paragraph 2 is allocated the 1st seat for the list. The candidate who receives the next highest number of votes is allocated the 2nd seat, and so on, until the allocation of parliamentary seats, and the seats of deputy members of the Althing, is completed. If two or more candidates receive the same number of votes, the order in which they are ranked on the list shall be determined by lot.
Other candidates than those who come under consideration as members or deputy members of Althing according to paragraph 1 keep the seats they occupy on the list of candidates without respect to alterations that have been made to the ballot paper.
Issue of election certificates
Article 111 When the National Electoral Commission has allocated parliamentary seats according to Articles 107–110 it must, without delay, issue election certificates to the newly-elected members and, for the time being, to an equal number of deputy members of the Althing. The election certificates shall be drawn up according to a form which the Ministry of Justice prescribes.
When these election certificates have been issued the National Electoral Commission informs the government ministries of the results of the elections and sends the names of the elected members of the Althing to the Government Gazette for publication.
Article 112 In the event of a dispute between the agents of the political organisations that participated in the Althing elections and the National Electoral Commission concerning a ruling that has been delivered, the agents of the political organisations have the right to have their dissenting view recorded in the minutes of the National Electoral Commission. The National Electoral Commission shall submit a transcript of its record of minutes to the Ministry of Justice regarding the allocation of parliamentary seats as well as the reports and documents from the senior electoral commissions that may be disputed, and the Ministry of Justice shall then present to the Althing at the commencement of its legislative session the copy as it was received.
Article 113 In the event that Althing delivers a ruling, following general elections to Althing, that the election of a certain list is invalid and that repeat elections have taken place, cf. Article 120 and 121, the National Electoral Commission shall then re-allocate the constituency seats where repeat election took place according to Article 107, and then re-allocate adjustment seats according to Article 108. The earlier allocation is then cancelled.
Election postponement and repeat elections
Article 114 If elections in a particular polling ward fail on the predetermined day because of bad weather or because of other uncontrollable reasons, the local electoral commission then calls a new election within one week. The meeting notice shall be published in the same manner as is generally used for the publication of government advertising.
If there is a failure to hold an election because a package with ballot papers does not arrive to the correct location the local electoral commission shall then immediately inform the senior electoral commission thereof, which then will renew the dispatch as soon as possible. The local electoral commission will then call a new election in the manner prescribed in paragraph 1.
The local electoral commission can postpone an election at a polling ward after it has commenced if the commission is of the opinion that there are reasons beyond their control, such as a storm, that prevent the elections from continuing, and if all the members of the electoral commission agree to the postponement, provided that the senior electoral commission agrees. If an election has been postponed a new election in the manner prescribed in paragraph 1 must be called.
An electoral commission that was elected according to paragraph 2 of Article 15 replaces the local electoral commissions with respect to a determination according to paragraphs 1–3.
When an election has been postponed the provisions of Article 95 must be fully adhered to, when applicable, with the addition that the copies of the electoral register which the electoral commission has had use of shall be placed among other electoral materials. After the polling session has been called to order on the later election day, the electoral commission opens the packaging in which the electoral materials are kept in the presence of the candidates or their agents. If the agent is not present, the commission then appoints an honourable person to be the agent for the candidate. If it is not possible to fulfil this provision the packaging may, however, be opened and the election may begin when one hour has passed from the calling to order of the polling session. With respect to the later election day the provisions of Chapter XIV shall apply when appropriate.
If a dispatch of ballot papers from a polling ward is not received by the senior electoral commission, and the election has taken place, the senior electoral commission will have a new election organised in the particular polling ward; the conduct of that election will be as mentioned earlier.
Article 115 If a repeat election becomes necessary because an election is judged invalid according to Article 46 of the Constitution, cf. Articles 120 and 121 of this Act, then the Ministry of Justice shall make an announcement calling a new election in the constituency and determining the new election day as soon as possible, and not more than one month later.
In other respects the election shall be conducted as laid down in this Act.
Reporting to Statistics Iceland
Article 116 The electoral commissions shall send reports to Statistics Iceland regarding the election, written on a form provided by Statistics Iceland.
CHAPTER XX Banned election propaganda and election sabotage
Article 117 Banned election propaganda and election sabotage:
- To offer anyone money or advantages in order to have an effect on whether they cast a vote or for whom they cast a vote, to deprive a person or to threaten a person with the deprivation of his or her job or advantages for the same purpose, to promise money or advantages to a person if an election turns out this way or that way, to make it difficult for others to go to a polling session or to a pre-election polling station, as well as to apply coercive measures in connection with elections.
- To try to influence the voting, whether by speechmaking, printed or written addresses or advertising, by carrying or displaying the signs of a political organisation, the signs of lists or other such identification at the polling station, i.e. in the election room, the polling booth or other places inside or on the facilities where election takes place, as well as in the proximate vicinity.
- To have cars marked with the insignia of political organisations, the mark of lists or with other such identification, while the polling session is underway, as well as the use of bull-horns for propaganda during the same time.
- To give imprecise or misleading information about oneself or others, such as name, age, residence in Iceland, address or something else, that leads to or may lead to: a person being placed on the electoral register who is not entitled to be there; a person who is entitled to be on the electoral register either not being put on the register or being removed from it; or a person being made to cast a vote in lieu of another person who is listed on the electoral register (this applies in particular if a person considers himself or herself pro forma to be domiciled in a constituency solely for the purpose of being placed on the electoral register there).
- To issue misleading election guidance,
- To falsify a casting of votes, whether by damaging or changing a vote that has been cast, or by other means.
Complaints concerning elections
Article 118 If a voter wishes to present a complaint on the grounds that a person elected to the Althing did not meet the requirements regarding candidacy, or that an electoral list was put forward illegally, or an electoral list received votes in a way that makes it necessary to annul the election, the voter shall submit his or her complaint in two copies to the Ministry of Justice within four weeks of the announcement of the results of the election; this must be done before the next Althing convenes. The Ministry of Justice shall then immediately send one duplicate to the agents of the electoral list and the other duplicate shall be presented to the Althing as soon as it convenes.
Article 119 Complaints concerning violations against this Act, insofar as they are not subject to the decision of the municipal governments, electoral commissions or the Althing, shall be referred to the relevant police commissioner and are subject to [criminal]1)procedure.
No voter who has cast a vote during Althing elections is required to give a statement before any court in any case revealing for whom his or her vote was cast.
1)Act No. 88/2008, Article 234.
Althing ruling concerning the validity of elections
Article 120 If Althing receives a complaint that a newly-elected member of Althing does not meet the requirements regarding candidacy, that the electoral list was otherwise put forward illegally, or that the member was unlawfully elected, it will investigate the complaint and deliver a ruling concerning it. At the same time, it will inquire into the election certificate for each newly-elected member of Althing, including the materials which Althing receives from the National Electoral Commission and the senior electoral commission concerning his or her election, and deliver a ruling concerning the validity of the election in the manner further described in the Althing rules of procedure.
If the member of Althing does not meet the requirements for candidature Althing will deliver a ruling that that member's election is invalid.
If there are any defects concerning the candidature or election of a member of parliament that may be presumed to have had an impact on the results of the election, Althing will deliver a ruling that his or her election was void, and also if there is no impact on the elections, if the member of the parliament, or the member's agents or sponsors have knowingly caused the defect, provided that this defect is substantial. This will apply to all members of parliament elected form this particular list, if the defects concern the list as a whole.
If a member of parliament has been put forward on two lists in a constituency or in constituencies during the same Althing elections, the Althing will deliver a ruling that that member's election was invalid.
Article 121 In the event that Althing has ruled that the election of a whole list in a constituency was invalid, there must be a repeat election.
How deputy members of parliament obtain their seats
Article 122 Deputy members of parliament obtain their seats, pursuant to the rules of Articles 109 and 110, when the members of parliament of the list from which they were elected resign or are absent, without respect to who the list's member of parliament is. If a deputy member of parliament becomes absent due to illness or for other reasons, resigns, loses his or her eligibility or dies, the next in order (who was not earlier a deputy) will assume the seat of the deputy.
If a member of parliament dies, resigns from parliament, or loses eligibility, the deputy assumes his seat as the principal member of parliament for the election term.
Article 123 The implementation of this Act shall be as follows:
- The Treasury shall pay necessary expenses for the work of the National Electoral Commission and for the electoral materials and equipment which the Ministry of Justice or the National Electoral Commission provides, as well as for facilities for use by the National Electoral Commission.
- The Treasury shall pay the necessary expenses for the work of the senior electoral commissions [and for the regional electoral commissions]1)and for the electoral materials and equipment which the senior electoral commissions provides, as well as for facilities used for the counting of the votes.
- [The Treasury shall pay]2) the necessary expenses for the work of the local electoral commissions and for electoral commissions pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 15, and for the electoral materials and equipment which these electoral commissions provide, for facilities used for the polling sessions and for the ballot boxes.
1)Act No. 15/2003, Article 21.2)Act No. 162/2006, Article 14.
Article 124 Any municipal authority, electoral commission, pre-election election manager, or official that knowingly carries out the prescribed implementation of this Act in an unlawful manner or neglects such implementation will be subject to fines, unless another more severe penalty is prescribed under other provisions of this Act or under other acts.
Article 125 The following conduct will be subject to fines:
- if anyone runs for a seat in parliamentary elections knowing that he or she is not eligible,
- if anyone runs for a parliamentary seat through more than one candidature,
- if a voter intentionally disqualifies the ballot paper when casting his or her ballot at a polling station on election day, or when casting the ballot with a pre-election election manager.
- if a voter discloses or intentionally puts on view how he or she votes or has voted,
- if anyone spies on whom a voter elects or has elected,
- if a voter feigns loss of eyesight or other disability in order to obtain assistance with the casting of the ballot,
- if anyone intentionally neglects to deliver a letter with a ballot that he or she was commissioned to deliver, or if that person wilfully delays the sending of votes and ballots,
- if anyone gives inaccurate or misleading information with respect to himself or herself or others in the manner indicated in item (d) of Article 117, unless there is a more severe punishment prescribed under other provisions of this Act or under other acts,
- if anyone issues misleading election guidelines.
Article 126 The following conduct will be subject to fines unless another more severe penalty is prescribed under other acts:
- if a member of an electoral commission or a pre-election election manager spies on whom a voter votes for or elects, or knowingly provides misleading election guidelines,
- if a member of an electoral commission or a pre-election election manager who provides assistance, discloses for whom the voter that was assisted cast his or her vote,
- if a member of an electoral commission, a pre-election election manager, or a person who has undertaken to transport ballot materials pursuant to Articles 54 or 59, delays their return,
- if anyone obstructs the visit of others to a polling station or to a voting event outside a polling station or polling event,
- if anyone casts their vote in two different places during the general parliamentary Althing election.
Article 127 The following conduct will be subject to fines unless another more severe penalty is prescribed under other acts:
- if anyone offers money or benefits to a person or promises a person money or benefits in order to exercise influence on whether that person votes or how he or she votes, or if anyone deprives a person or threatens a person with the loss of work or benefits for the same purpose,
- if anyone accepts money or benefits for the casting of a vote, for refraining from casting a vote, or to cast a vote in a specific manner.
Article 128 The following conduct is subject to prison for up to four years:
- if anyone applies coercive measures or violence or threats of violence in order to disrupt a person's liberty to vote, either by way of preventing that person from casting a vote or forcing him or her to cast a vote for someone other than whom he or she wants to vote for,
- if anyone knowingly falsifies a vote, either so that a vote is lost or damaged, or if anyone loses a vote that has been sent, supplies ballot papers that are very similar to those used in elections and utilises them or provides them to others so that they may utilise them, mixes up the results of the counting of the votes, or otherwise.
Amendments to this Act
Article 129 This Act can be amended as laid down in the Constitution.
The provisions of Article 6 regarding constituency boundaries and the provisions of Articles 107 to 108 concerning the allocation of parliamentary seats cannot be amended except by the approval of 2/3 of the votes in the Althing, cf. paragraph 6, Article 31 of the Constitution.
CHAPTER XXVII Entry into force and amendments to other acts
Article 130 This Act shall enter into force immediately. ...