Swedish voters went to the polls today to cast their ballots in the parliamentary election. The vote is a crucial one for the country, effectively a referendum on the issue of mass immigration into Sweden. At the moment it looks like the Sweden Democrats didn’t get the massive breakthrough vote that they had hoped for — early results show them at 19.2%-19.5% (live reports here and here).
The following article reports on an incident that may be an instance of electoral fraud, or may be a simple mistake on the part of local election workers. Many thanks to Tania Groth for translating this article from Swedish state television:
SD’s ballot papers missing at polling station
September 9, 2018
When the polling station at the Annedals School in Gothenburg opened, the Sweden Democrats’ party papers were nowhere to be found. It was only when SVT News called more than two hours later that SD ballot papers were added to the others.
“This is extremely serious and we will get to the bottom of this,” says Jörgen Fogelklou, the chairman of SD in Gothenburg.
Election workers working in the polling rooms are responsible for ensuring that there are ballot papers available for all parties that have received more than one percent of the votes throughout the country during any of the two most recent parliamentary elections. With regard to the actual ballots, it is up to the parties themselves to make sure they are distributed to the various polling stations (throughout the country). However, in the polling station at the Annedals school in Gothenburg, the Swedish Democrats’ ballots were not put out along with the other parties’.
Bill Werngren, electoral manager of the city of Gothenburg:
“This is extremely disturbing. The election authority is required to ensure that everything is done to the letter. Whether it is deliberate tampering or a mistake, we do not know. But it IS strange,” says Jörgen Fogelklou.
It was only when SVT News contacted the election manager in Gothenburg, just over two hours, after the doors were opened at the polling station, that the irregularity was discovered.
“I think it is regrettable that they have left out the Swedish Democrats at this polling station,” said Bill Werngren, electoral manager for the city of Gothenburg.
After a little over two hours
“It has been a bit over two hours since the polling station opened, and you didn’t notice that the ballots were missing before SVT pointed it out. How can that be?”
“We have trained 2,500 people to work at the polling stations, and they have received exactly the same training, but the understanding of the task by these people clearly varied,” said Bill Werngren.
According to him, those working at the polling stations receive training in, among other things, how the ballot papers should stand and exactly what ballot papers they are required to provide, yet the missing Swedish Democrats ballots was not discovered.
“They cannot stand there all the time and check, but it’s unfortunate that they missed this. Then, of course, mistakes can be made.”
Bill Werngren is responsible for 350 polling stations in the city of Gothenburg and, according to him, he has not heard of any other places where ballot papers for a particular party were absent. It is unclear what happened in the case of Annedalsskolan.
“Either there has been a mistake or they were stolen, and it was not discovered until now,” said Bill Werngren.
The chairman of the Swedish Democrats in Gothenburg is very upset about what happened, and has informed the election authorities that the party intends to investigate the issue.
“We will now keep an extra sharp eye out, because this is extremely serious and very remarkable,” says Jörgen Fogelklou.