Right to vote for all for 100 years in Norway

Norwegian election Right to voteFrom the Norwegian election in 1909. This year 19,570 persons were suspended from voting. Photo: Norwegian Folk Museum

100th Anniversary of the right to vote for all in Norway

2019 is not just an important municipal election year, it is also an anniversary. It is 100 years since The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) decided that persons receiving aid to the poor gained the right to vote at elections in Norway.

The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) marks this anniversary. The anniversary will mainly be about conveying this story and facilitating debate on democratic participation today. It was on July 17th, 1919, that The Norwegian Parliament repealed the Constitution’s provision, paragraph 52d. The paragraph concerned that the right to vote was suspended if you received aid to the poor.

An important decision

The Norwegian Parliament has today launched a separate article with information, resources and stories about persons who were affected by the poor granted the right to vote.

“The decision in 1919 was important because it was then that social and economic status or personal traits were no longer determinants to who was allowed to vote. Thus, the right to vote became a basic human right in Norway,” Parliamentary President of Norway, Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen, explains.

“Although ordinary voting rights for anyone over the age of 25 were introduced in 1913 – when women gained the right to vote at parliamentary elections – general voting rights were not truly achieved before the exclusion of those who received poor aid was removed in 1919.”

During this period, at most 47,500 persons were excluded from voting. This corresponded to just over four per cent of those of voting age.

Wish to inspire debate

“We hope that children and adults across Norway will be inspired to participate in the anniversary throughout the year, by studying this forgotten part of our story. Perhaps by helping to bring forth stories about how this was, and how it affected individuals in their own community,” Trøen continues.

“Most important of all, is perhaps, to use those thoughts that this triggers. To discuss one of the most important issues of our own time: Who is left out of participation today? Who is it who cannot, or will not, participate in the democratic processes that shape both us and society today?” The Parliamentary President rounds off.

United Parliament behind the anniversary

In 1919, it was about providing everybody with the right to democratic participation, regardless of their social and economic framework. Today, it is about getting everyone to use the right to vote, participate in democratic processes, elections, thus influencing the society in which we live.

A unanimous Norwegian parliament is standing behind the anniversary. It was Red, that in the autumn of 2017 proposed to mark that it is 100 years since poor persons on aid could vote at elections.



© Stortinget.no / #Norway Today


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