The daughter-in-law of the hotel manager of Hótel Borgarnes, where ballots for the Northwest District were counted over the weekend, posted—and later deleted—two photos to her Instagram showing a room full of ballots, some of them unsealed and in open boxes, with the caption “The count is over!” The matter casts further aspersions on what has already been a contentious voting district.
As reported, a recount was called on Sunday, the day after election night, specifically for this district. It further came to light that, on election night, many of the ballots for the Northwest District were not sealed; instead, they were locked in a room. By Icelandic voting laws, ballots are supposed to be sealed after counting.
The subsequent recount did end up changing the gender balance of Parliament, and also switched out some candidates for others, but did not otherwise affect the overall results of which parties won how many seats. However, the lack of sealed ballots did raise questions about the integrity of the count. Lawyer Katrín Oddsdóttir told reporters that the unsealed ballots undermine trust in the count as a whole.
This was countered by assurances that the ballots were all secure in a locked room. However, the appearance of these photos raises questions as to how secure these ballots were, especially as the photographer in question was not a part of the official ballot counting team. She is, however, an employee at the hotel, and a campaign worker speaking to Vísir said that the photos were taken after everyone else had left the area.
Pirate Party candidate Magnús Davíð Norðdahl was already in the process of filing complaints about the ballot count in the Northwest, both for many ballots being unsealed and also for the fact that not all party representatives were present for the recount. What further actions will be taken in the wake of these photos remains to be seen.
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