Norwegian politicians will be campaigning to the bitter end this weekend, after party leaders have their last major nationally televised debate Friday night. Record numbers of Norwegian voters have already made up their minds, however, and cast early ballots.
Folks were lined up at polling places like the one set up at Solli Plass in Oslo Friday evening. It was the last day for filing absentee ballots or voting in advance, but state broadcaster NRK reported that records were set before that.
Nearly 900,000 had already voted by mid-day Friday, according to NRK. The record number of 889,757, to be exact, was tallied and published by the state election directorate Friday morning.
Fully 116,250 voted early on Thursday alone, passing the former record of 855,225. “There’s clearly great interest in the election,” Jan Tore Sanner, the govenrment minister in charge of elections, told NRK.
Sanner thinks there are serveral reasons for the high numbers of advance voters. “Many think it’s good to be able to vote when they have time and opportunity,” Sanner said. “Most local communities are good at making that possible, so that folks can vote when it suits them.”
In Bergen, where all party leaders were assembled on Friday for their last major debate, nearly a third of eligible voters had already voted by Friday afternoon: 104,759.
All told, 3,756,400 people in Norway are eligible to vote in this year’s parliamentary election. That’s 112,000 more than the last such election in 2013. NRK reported that 248,500 are first-time voters.