The Norwegian postal service Posten is supposed to live up to its motto of delivering on time, but ongoing cutbacks have resulted in numerous delays and reduced deliveries around the country. Now that’s had an adverse effect on Monday’s parliamentary election.
Hundreds of absentee ballots have been delivered too late to local election boards. State broadcaster NRK reported on Friday that voters have done everything correctly, but Posten didn’t manage to deliver their ballots on time.
“This is a serious situation we’re in now,” the mayor of Kautokeino in Finnmark, Johan Vasara, told NRK, “especially regarding the election for the Sami Parliament (Sametinget), where just a few votes can decide who wins seats or doesn’t.”
He held up 21 envelopes that arrived too late to be counted, while another 27 arrived too late in Karasjok. It’s not just the postal service in remote areas of Northern Norway that has let voters down: Problems have cropped up all over the country, with ballots delivered too late in Bergen, Trondheim and even in Oslo.
The biggest problem is that Posten no longer delivers mail on Saturdays, and that it now can take two days to deliver mail as opposed to the overnight service that was common for years. Since the election was held on Monday, even ballots mailed on Thursday risked coming too late to be counted.
Officials at the government ministry in charge of the election said they were taking the situation seriously and would include the delays in their evaluation of the election process.