Head of Sweden’s Electoral Authority: “No Control Mechanism to Prevent Voter Fraud”

Two days after the Swedish election social media is overflowing with hundreds of reports of suspected electoral fraud. However, sporadic mistakes in the voting system are not the problem – what is way more dangerous is politically initiated election fraud. Is there a risk that the parties who have ruled Sweden for a long time have created a system that completely misses or ignores systematic election fraud? Today, Ingrid & Maria can reveal that Sweden completely lacks a system that can detect such cheating.

The outcome of the Swedish election differed hugely from the many polls the weeks before election day September 9. The polls suggested that the Sweden Democrats would be the largest or second largest party with 25-30 percent of the vote and that the Social Democrats would fall from 31 to 23-24 percent. When the votes were counted Sunday night the Sweden Democrats only got 17,6 while the Social Democrats lost only 2,8 percentage points and got 28,4.

Many Swedes became suspicious – how could the result differ so much from the polls? Several reports on social media reveal suspected electoral fraud and other strange things at the polling stations, such as missing ballots, fake names, Social Democrats who followed people into the voting booth and “helped” them put the “right” ballot papers in the envelopes, men of foreign descent telling their wives how to vote, signs urging people not to seal the envelopes but just fold the flap in, ballot boxes that had not been sealed and rude or even heavily drunk officials at the polling stations. In Southern Sweden, a voter experienced this situation:

“At my polling station two guys were in charge. One of them was pierced all over his face and was so drunk I could smell it a mile away. There were no ballots for Alternative for Sweden, even though I had phoned the day before and was assured they were in place.

The guys were totally disorganized and people were walking around everywhere. And one was as I said heavily drunk. I think if anyone needs to be sober it must surely be the people in charge of organizing an election …”

There can be no corruption in Sweden …

To most Swedes, the idea that the once safe and correct democracy of Sweden could be corrupted is almost impossible to fathom. Everyone understands that mistakes can be made, but they are always blamed on human error – that election fraud could be organized and widespread is dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Because it just cannot be, this is Sweden for God’s sake!

Axel Oxenstierna (1583-1654).

But Sweden is not what it used to be. The Swedish statesman Axel Oxenstierna (1583–1654) created our famous “civil servant responsibility”, assuming that all government officials “should act in the best interests of the nation and also strive to facilitate the work of other officials” and that was the rule for nearly 400 years. But over the last few decades, the system that served us so well has slowly but surely been phased out. The government officials that once made sure no corruption could occur, have been exchanged for lobbyists and activists, mostly from leftist- and LGBT communities.

Nowadays many government officials/activists refuse to answer questions, and they perceive questions about their agency’s work as personal criticisms. They often demand to get the questions sent via e-mail (which are rarely answered), claiming they cannot answer questions because they are off to an important meeting and then simply just hang up. And when they do answer their phones they are not actually in the workplace, but out doing errands like shopping or picking up children in kindergarten.

No system for identifying electoral fraud

Anna Nyqvist, head of the Electoral Authority in Sweden.

Anna Nyqvist is the Chief Executive of the Electoral Authority. After first trying to get us to call the press secretary, she agrees to answer the important question of how her agency goes about making sure that organized political electoral fraud does not occur.

Does the government have a system for identifying politically initiated electoral fraud?

– No! The answer is no.

Is it true that citizens who want to complain about electoral fraud must turn to the municipal electoral committee?

– Yes.

There are 290 municipalities in Sweden, do you collect all complaints into a central database so that you can analyze if there are signs of cheating that point in any specific direction?

– No, the main purpose of the complaints is that the electoral committees may improve their work.

So it’s up the 290 municipalities …

– In 2016 there was a government inquiry that investigated the need for a state-of-the-art incident reporting system. It was called “Faster Re-election and Enhanced Protection of Secret Ballot” and that concluded there is no need for a state-owned, incident report system. So the question has already been handled. Now I do not have time for this conversation, but I can get back to you if you send an email to val.se.

No concern for safeguarding the democracy

No, you have already very clearly confirmed the suspicion I had that Sweden does not see the need for a control system that deals with voter fraud. So in conclusion, one can say that there is no single control system in Sweden for detecting politically initiated electoral fraud?

– That’s right.

If Swedish politicians really had wanted to safeguard the country’s democracy, they would of course have set up a foolproof system and consolidated this by law. Transferring such an important issue as making the voting system safe against electoral fraud to 290 municipalities and refusing to collect incidents in order to make adjustments, does not indicate a particular concern for safeguarding our democracy.

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