The Police Commissioner of West Iceland has dismissed a case against the staff of the Northwest Constituency’s election supervision committee, Vísir reports. The staff have received letters informing them of the decision. The letters state that new legislation, which took effect on January 1, makes it unclear whether the staff had broken the law by not resealing ballot boxes between the initial count and a recount of votes.
A recount changed results, which Parliament confirmed
A vote recount in the Northwest Constituency following the Parliamentary election on September 25, 2021 redistributed five of Parliament’s 63 seats. As a result, several candidates filed charges against election proceedings in the constituency. Evidence showed that the election supervision committee had failed to seal the votes after it had completed its initial count and had left them unattended, actions that constituted breaches of regulation. Police had fined election staff, who had refused to pay the fines.
A preparatory Credentials Committee was subsequently established (later succeeded by the actual Credentials Committee after parliament reconvened following a lengthy hiatus) to investigate these claims. Following weeks of discussions and a field trip to Hotel Borgarnes, the committee submitted its findings to Parliament last November. The Parliament then voted to confirm the election results in all constituencies, putting an end to the matter – except for the ongoing police investigation.
New law sows doubt about criminality of actions
West Iceland Police stated that the new election legislation that took effect this year is not sufficiently clear about the obligation to seal election data, though previous legislation had been. Therefore, the Police Commissioner considers there to be doubts about the criminality of the alleged violation.