Forsetakjör - 01.11.1997, Blaðsíða 27

Forsetakjör - 01.11.1997, Blaðsíða 27
Forsetakjör 1996 25 Absentee voting can take place at a district commissioner’s office, at the office or home of the district commissioner’s representatives in each municipality and on board an Icelan- dic ship, provided the captain has received the necessary papers and the voter is a registered crew member. Overseas absentee voting can take place at Icelandic embassies, perma- nent missions and consulates general, as well as honorary consulates as decided by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs before each election. The rules on places for absentee voting were eased in 1974, when it was no longer made a prerequi- site that honorary consuls abroad who conduct absentee voting had to be of Icelandic decent and understand Icelan- dic. Within Iceland, district commissioners were authorized to conduct absentee voting at hospitals and residential homes for the elderly. In 1991 this rule was extended to institutions for handicapped persons and to prisons. In the referenda of 1918 and 1944 on the Union Treaty and the Constitution, voters were allowed to cast absentee votes at home in cases of old age or ill health. The same provisions were introduced before the general election of 1923 but were abolished in 1924 for fear of misuse. Since the 1991 amend- ment of the General Elections Act, it is permitted to conduct absentee voting in a private home in the case of persons otherwise unable to cast their votes because of illness, handicap or childbirth. A request for home absentee voting must be made not less than a week before election day and a medical certificate of the need for it must be provided. According to earlier electoral legislation, absentee votes had to be received by the polling station where the voter was registered before it closed on election day. This provision was changed in the General Elections Act of 1959, and since then it has been sufficient for absentee votes to reach any polling station in the constituency before closing time. Such votes shall be forwarded separately to the constituency electoral committee. In the presidential election of 1996, 1,145 votes were received in this way. Table 1 shows the number of absentee votes cast by voters registered in each municipality in the 1996 election. The total number of absentee votes was 29,205, or 17.5% of the total number of votes cast. This very high rate of absentee voting was presumably caused by the fact that the election fell within the surnmer holiday season, whereas general elections in 1979-1995 were held during winter and spring. Summary 8 shows this rate as from 1916. In 1996,14,360 absentee votes, or 49.2% ofthetotal, were cast by women. Summary 8 shows that there were high proportions of absentee voting among women in 1918,1923 and 1944. This was due solely to voting at home which was used by women to a much greater extent then by men. Summary 5 compares absentee voting between constituen- cies, and Summary 9 shows the absolute number of absentee votes by constituency and sex. Summary 10 shows the number of absentee votes cast within Iceland by place of absentee voting. About 95% were cast at a regular office while 0.2% were cast at home. It should be noted that the total shown in this summary does not correspond to the number of valid absentee votes shown elsewhere in this report. This is because it covers only absentee voting taking place within Iceland and excludes voting abroad and on board Icelandic ships. Furthermore, it includes votes that may never have been received by the elections committee concemed or may have been rendered invalid if the voter also voted at his or her polling station on election day. 6. Outcome of the presidential election The result of the presidential election in 1996 was: Ástþór Magnússon Wium Guðrún Agnarsdóttir Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson Pétur Kr. Hafstein 4,422 votes 43,578 votes 68,370 votes 48,863 votes Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was thus duly elected President of Iceland for the period 1 August 1996 until 31 July 2000. Table 3 (p. 37) shows the election results by constituen- cies, including blank and void ballots, as well as the percent- age shares of the candidates. Summary table 11 shows the results of all five presidential elections in Iceland by the present constituencies. Summary table 5 shows the propor- tion of blank and void ballots in each constituency, and summary table 12 shows their number and proportion in each election since 1908, when the secret ballot was introduced in general elections.



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