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Environmental Activists Fraudulently Change Constituencies

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Environmental Activists Fraudulently Change Constituencies

arneshreppur_strandir_west_fjords_road_closeup.jpg

Árneshreppur. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Registers Iceland has requested police help verify legal residence changes, which have increased greatly on the eve of municipal elections, RÚV reports. A voter’s legal residence determines which constituency they vote in.

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. Árneshreppur is located in the West Fjords and is the least populated constituency in the country. The 17 new registrations represent a 40% increase in the municipality’s number of voters.

Ástríður Jóhannesdóttir, department head at Registers Iceland, says an increase in legal residence changes leading up to elections is nothing new, “on the other hand this is unusually many at once.”

Of the 17 invidivuals, 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.

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 hydro power plant.

Former MP Kristinn H. Gunnarsson has published the names of the individuals who have changed their legal residence to Árneshreppur online. He believes the actions are an organized effort by power plant opponents. “I think the government should respond firmly,” he states. “Because it is quite clear that interest groups recently, many of which focus on environmental issues, have begun going very far.”

Municipal elections will take place around Iceland on May 26.

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