The Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice is involved in a variety of ways in the conduct of elections to the Althing. For example, it handles the production and distribution of electoral materials for voting both at polling stations and by post, keeps a register of the distinguishing letters assigned to political organisation's electoral lists and decides on the letters to be assigned to new political organisations.

Electoral Commissions

Determining remuneration
The Minister of Justice determines the remuneration paid for the work of the National Electoral Commission and the regional electoral Commissions.

Minutes books and seals
The Ministry of Justice supplies and validates minutes books for the National Electoral Commission and the regional electoral Commissions.The Ministry also provides the electoral Commissions with seals.

Election Day

Announcement of elections to the Althing
The Ministry of Justice shall announce when regular general elections to the Althing are to be held.

Voter's Registers

Announcement of presentation of voter's registers.
The Ministry of Justice is obliged to announce the presentation of registers of electors not more than 12 days before Election Day. The announcement is to state that comments and criticisms concerning registers of electors are to be submitted to the relevant local authorities.

Distinguishing letters of the candidate's lists

Register of letters assigned to political organisation's lists
The Ministry of Justice maintains a register of the letters assigned to the political organisations that put forward candidates for the last general elections to the Althing; this shall be published in an official advertisement at least eight weeks before each general election to the Althing. If elections are called with such short notice that this is not possible, then the advertisement shall be published within 72 hours of the calling of the election.

Announcements from political organisations that do not have a registered letter, or that have a registered letter but wish to change it.
If a political organisation that does not have a registered letter intends to put forward a list of candidates in an election to the Althing, it shall notify the Ministry of Justice not later than by 12.00 noon three days before the expiry of the deadline for announcing candidacy. The announcement shall be signed by 300 voters. The name of a new political organisation may not be such as to cause possible confusion with that of an organisation that is already registered by the Ministry with a letter assigned its list. The Ministry of Justice shall immediately inform the political organisations that are on the register of the new organisations that have been announced and of their application for a distinguishing letter for their electoral lists. The Ministry of Justice shall decide which letters to allocate to new political organisations, taking their wishes into account and also the letters allocated to other organisations in previous elections.

If an organisation that is registered wishes to change its name, it shall inform the Ministry of Justice of this by the same deadline.

Announcement of changes
Changes to previous advertisements by the Ministry concerning the distinguishing letters of the electoral lists of political organisations shall be published immediately with a new announcement, and the National Electoral Commission and regional electoral commissions shall be notified of such changes.

Electoral materials

Electoral materials for postal voting
The Ministry of Justice shall provide electoral materials for pre-election voting and instructions on the voting procedure. These materials shall be available to those in charge of voting outside polling stations, i.e. district commissioners, chairmen of local councils and ships? captains; the Ministry for Foreign Affairs shall be in charge of providing these materials to election officials abroad.

The materials used in pre-election voting consist of: ballot papers, enveloped for ballot papers, covering letters and postal envelopes, and also stamps with the letters of the various electoral lists.

Electoral materials for polling sessions on Election Day
When it receives an announcement from the National Electoral Commission stating the distinguishing letters to be used by each list, the political organisations that each list represents and the names of the candidates on each list in correct order, together with their occupational status or professional designation and address, the Ministry of Justice shall have ballot papers prepared for use in voting at polling stations. Ballot papers are to be made of quality paper which print or writing does not show through, weighing at least 125 g/m▓. The colour of ballot papers shall be changed for each election to the Althing.

Ballot papers to be used at polling stations shall be prepared as follows: The lists of candidates shall be printed side by side, in order according to their distinguishing letters. Each list shall be assigned a space c. 6 cm wide, the length depending on the full legal number of candidates. At the top of each list, the distinguishing letter of the list shall be printed in large and clear type, in the centre of the space for the list; below it shall be printed the names of the candidates on the list, in correct order and with their occupational status or professional designation and address, if this is considered necessary to distinguish them individually. Lists shall be separated by boldly-printed vertical lines, and there shall be a space at least Ż cm wide in front of the names on each list. The name of the political organisation for which each list is put forward shall be stated; this shall be done by printing, in clear type beneath the distinguishing letter of the lest, but above the names of the candidates: List of ... (followed by the name of the political organisation).

Ballot papers shall be folded so that the blank side faces outwards. Only sufficient ballot papers for sending to the local electoral commissions shall be prepared, and the regional electoral commission shall make sure that unauthorised persons do not see the ballot papers before it sends them.

Normally, ballot papers shall be prepared not later than seven days before Election Day, when the Ministry of Justice shall send them to the regional electoral commissions.

Size and design of ballot boxes
The Minister of Justice shall issue further details on the size and design of ballot boxes; boxes of a suitable size, provided by the local authority, shall be located in the polling stations. Ballot boxes shall be constructed in such a way as to make it impossible to remove ballot papers from them without opening them, and it shall be possible to lock them.

Voting at polling stations

Polling instructions and special copies of the Elections to the Althing Act
The Minister of Justice shall provide electoral Commissions with polling instructions which can be displayed in the polling stations. In each polling station there shall be an off-print of the Elections to the Althing Act, published by the Ministry of Justice, and also the Constitution, together with explanatory notes if this is considered necessary.

Counting and election results

Submission of material to the Althing
After counting of votes, the National Electoral Commission shall send the Ministry of Justice a copy of its minutes regarding the elections, together with forms recording points in dispute, which the ministry shall submit to the Althing at the beginning of its legislative session, subject to the same procedures as applied when it received them.

Keeping of voter's registers
After the National Electoral Commission has placed all voters? registers in sealed wrappings, it shall send them to the Ministry of Justice, which shall keep them for one year.

Issue of certificates of election

Form determined by the Ministry of Justice
Certificates of election issued by the National Electoral Commission to elected members of the Althing shall be drawn up according to the form determined at any given time by the Ministry of Justice.

Copies of minutes recording disagreement on allocation of seats
When a dispute arises between the agents of the political organisations that participate in an election to the Althing and the National Electoral Commission regarding a ruling that has been delivered, the agents have the right to have their dissenting view recorded in the minutes of the National Electoral Commission, which shall submit to the Ministry of Justice a copy of its minutes book recording the allocation of seats. The ministry shall then present the copy as it has received it to the Althing at the beginning of its legislative session.

Repeat elections

Elections judged invalid
If an election is judged invalid, a repeat election becomes necessary, in which case the Ministry of Justice shall make an announcement calling a new election in the constituency and determining the new election day as soon as possible, and not more than one month later.

Complaints concerning elections

If a voter wishes to present a complaint on the grounds that

  • a person elected to the Althing did not meet the requirements regarding candidacy, or
  • an electoral list was put forward illegally, or
  • an electoral list received votes in a way that makes it necessary to annul the election,

he shall submit his complaint in two copies to the Ministry of Justice within four weeks of the announcement of the results of the election; this must be done before the next Althing convenes. The Ministry of Justice shall then immediately send one copy to the agents of the electoral list and the other copy shall be presented to the Althing as soon as it convenes.


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