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The Sailing/Floating/Flying Ballot Box

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The Sailing/Floating/Flying Ballot Box

Grímsey. Photo: Páll Stefánsson

The most famous ballot box in today’s parliamentary election has arrived in Akureyri, North Iceland, where the votes will be counted, RÚV reports.

We reported yesterday that due to bad weather, there were problems with bringing ballots to the residents of Grímsey, population 90, which lies 40 km (25 miles) off the north coast of Iceland.

At the time of reporting, the whole story had not been told.

Yesterday, attempts were made to bring the ballot box to the island by boat. About two miles from the island, the Grímsey ferry had to turn around, though, because of the weather. The decision was made to seal the ballot box in plastic an throw it overboard. Two men on a small boat then fished it up from the sea and brought it to land.

That would have been the end of the story had the ballots themselves not accidentally been left on the ferry.

Thus, the ballots traveled back to Akureyri and were eventually sent to Grímsey later in the afternoon by the Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter.

This was an important move, because the law does not allow for any election results to be published until all polling stations have been closed.

This morning, the residents of Grímsey rushed to vote and had all turned in their ballots by 10:13 am. All registered voters who were on the island cast their ballots but one.

This morning, the outlook was not good for flying, so a Coast Guard ship was ready in Akureyri to sail and pick up the ballots. That turned out not to be necessary, because it cleared up and an airplane from Nordlandair was able to land on the island at 12:15 pm. It swiftly picked up the ballots and brought them to Akureyri, where they would be counted.

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