Foreign residents who have lived in Iceland consecutively for three years have the right to vote in municipal elections, but many of them are not aware of that right, says Sara Björg Sigurðardóttir, a candidate for the Social-Democratic Alliance in Iceland’s upcoming municipal elections. Citizens of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland whose legal residence is in Iceland also have the right to vote in municipal elections, regardless of how long they have lived in the country.
“We’re talking about residents who have been living here for many years, paid taxes and fees, been active users of city services but didn’t know that they could vote in municipal elections,” Sara Björg told Fréttablaðið. “As a society, we need to do better when it comes to informing our residents about what rights they have in our society. One of the most precious ones is the right to vote.”
Amendments to Iceland’s municipal election laws took effect on January 1 of this year, shortening the period foreign citizens must reside in Iceland before they acquire the right to vote in municipal elections.
Municipal elections are held every four years in Iceland, and occur on the same date in all municipalities across the country. The upcoming municipal elections will be held on May 14, and advanced polls are already open.