Foreigners eligible.

Did you know that non-Finns too are eligible to vote in the upcoming municipal elections? EU, Icelandic, and Norwegian citizens are eligible to vote provided their municipality of residence has been the municipality in question 51 days prior to election day, while citizens of other countries must in addition have lived in Finland for two years. Nevertheless, voter turnout among foreigners tends to be low.

Given that the municipal level is where the majority of decisions that affect all our daily lives are made, it's a shame so few non-Finns use their rightful voice. Studies show that a significant reason for this is lack of information among immigrants. Another issue is lack of interest - something that sadly is mirrored in declining voter turnout among the general population too. The fact that most election material produced by candidates is in Finnish, and to some extent in Swedish, is also a likely contributing factor. 

To raise awareness of the elections among immigrants and provide candidates and voters an opportunity to meet, the Swedish adult education centre Arbis is organising an event on Thursday March 23. This is a great opportunity for voters to speak to candidates and find out about their platforms - I'll be there too, so come along!