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Presidential Election 2012

Under the Constitution of the Republic of Iceland, any person who has reached the age of 35 and who meets the requirements for being able to vote in elections to the Althingi (with the exception of the residence requirement) may stand for election as President of Iceland.

Candidacies for election to the presidency shall be submitted to the Ministry of the Interior by midnight on Friday, 25 May 2012. They shall be accompanied by declarations of consent by the candidates, sufficient numbers of sponsors and certificates from the relevant constituency electoral commission stating that the sponsors have the right to vote. Not later than 31 May 2012, the Ministry of the Interior shall announce, on the radio and in the Official Gazette, the names of candidates for election to the presidency.

Right to vote

Under Article 1 of the Act on Candidacy and Election of the President of Iceland, No. 36/1945 (cf. Article 1 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, No. 24/2000) voters who have the right to vote in elections to the Althingi have the right to vote in presidential elections.

Pre-election voting

Pre-election voting shall begin as soon as possible after the election has been announced, though not more than eight weeks prior to election day.

Votes may be cast at district commissioners' offices in all parts of Iceland; the district commissioners shall announce, by the means normally used for public announcements, when and where votes can be cast. Votes may also be cast in hospitals, old people's homes and care centres, prisons and private homes in consultation with the electoral commissioners in each locality.

Pre-election voting outside Iceland in the presidential election shall take place in all Icelandic embassies abroad and in the offices of the Icelandic consul-generals in New York, Winnipeg and Torshavn (Faroe Islands). Pre-election votes may also be cast by arrangement with Iceland's honorary consuls abroad. It is expected that voting will take place at about 235 localities in 84 countries.

Electoral registers

The local authorities shall draw up electoral registers on the basis of the records of Registers Iceland; no one can exercise their right to vote unless their name is on the electoral register when the election is held.  Residents in each local government area who have the right to vote under the Parliamentary Elections Act are entered in the electoral register. The qualifications to be met are: having reached the age of 18 when the election takes place, being Icelandic citizens and being registered as domiciled in the local government area, according to the residence lists of the National Registry, on Saturday, 9 June 2012 (three weeks prior to election day). Icelandic citizens resident abroad, who have reached the age of 18 and meet certain further conditions, will also be included in the electoral register.

Polling stations

Voting will take place at the same polling stations as are used in general elections. Individual local authorities will announce further details of the polling stations shortly before the election, including when they will be open, where they are located, how they are divided by electoral wards, etc.

Electoral commissions

Local and constituency electoral commissions are the same as for parliamentary elections; in addition to them, the Supreme Court of Iceland plays a special role in presidential elections, as is described in further detail in the Act on Candidacy and Election of the President of Iceland.

The Supreme Court of Iceland

All constituency electoral commissions send the Supreme Court transcripts of their records and any ballot papers over which there has been a dispute. The Supreme Court summons the presidential candidates, or their representatives, to a meeting at which it rules on the validity of the disputed ballot papers, announces the results of the election and issues a certificate of election to the candidate who has received the highest number of votes.