Lost Icelandic Presidential Ballots Recovered in Madrid Skip to content

Lost Icelandic Presidential Ballots Recovered in Madrid

By Yelena

municipal election Skorradalur - Skorradalshreppur
Photo: A ballot box in Skorradalur during the May 2022 municipal election.

Absentee voting in Iceland’s upcoming presidential election has not gone according to plan in the Canary Islands, where a significant number of Icelandic emigrants live, RÚV reports. Around 80 Icelandic citizens showed up to vote on Gran Canaria, where only 15 ballots had been received.

Voting on Gran Canaria was then postponed until yesterday, but when the ballot package arrived in the mail, it had been opened and all of the ballots had been removed. The ballots were later found at a DHL sorting station in Madrid. They are expected in Las Palmas today.

Does not impact trustworthiness of elections

Even if some ballots have been lost on their way to the Canary Islands, Kristín Edwald, the director of the National Electoral Commission, say it does not impact the trustworthiness of the elections. When an absentee vote is cast, “[t]he ballot itself is put in a ballot envelope, with that envelope there’s an accompanying letter signed and stamped by the scrutineer,” Kristín explained. “The scrutineer also maintains a special registry of who voted via advance ballot: name, kennitala [ID number] and address, where they voted and when they voted.”

Kristín adds that different ballots are used for advance voting than for voting on election day. “So it’s not like a ballot that looks exactly like the ones used during the presidential election next June 1 disappeared.”

1.8% of Icelandic citizens live in Spain

According to Registers Iceland, there were 902 Icelanders living in Spain at the end of 2023, representing 1.8% of the nation. The institution does not provide details on how many of them live in the Canary Islands. They are also a popular vacation spot for Icelanders, with direct flights between Iceland and the islands available year-round.

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