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Árneshreppur Municipal Election Results Challenged

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Árneshreppur Municipal Election Results Challenged

arneshreppur_strandir_west_fjords_road_closeup.jpg

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The proceedings of the recently finished municipal vote in Árneshreppur have been charged, RÚV reports. There was a high number of legal residence changes leading up to the elections, which are believed to have affected the vote in Árneshreppur, one of the least populated constituencies in the country.

A fraudulent vote?

The charge is being pressed by the individuals Elís Svavar Kristinsson and Ólafur Valsson, who believe that there were such severe faults with the voting process that it must have affected the vote. The handling of the legal residence changes by Registers Iceland and the chairman of the district council in Árneshreppur were critiqued severely in the charge. The rural district council broke the law when it did not receive comments from another party than Registers Iceland. Elís and Ólafur believe that there are enough conditions in place for the vote to be officially void.

Dubious residence changes

Seventeen individuals changed their legal residence to the municipality of Árneshreppur between April 24 and May 5, the deadline for legal residence changes to appear in the electoral register. The 17 new registrations represent a 40% increase in the municipality’s number of voters.

Of the 17 individuals, 9 registered their legal residence at the farm Drangar. One of Drangar’s owners told RÚV he does not know the individuals and had sent a letter to Registers Iceland asking them to look into the matter.

The rural district council had originally requested that Registers Iceland investigate whether the legal residence changes were actual residence changes. The police assisted with the investigation, which culminated with the removal of the majority of the newly registered voters in the district from the voters' list.

A matter of nature

A proposed power plant in the area was the focal point of the municipal elections in Árneshreppur. One of the individuals who has moved his legal residence to Drangar farm is Saving Iceland spokesperson Snorri Páll Jónsson. Saving Iceland is an organization which opposes the building of power plants in Iceland. One of the biggest election issues in the municipality is a planned hydropower plant.

The charge was brought to the to the district this weekend and the district magistrate Jónas Guðmundsson has appointed a committee of three lawyers, which will take a stance on the charge.

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