In Sweden, you have a system where you choose ballot paper with the political party printed on it before you enter the voting station.

I understand that you can pick multiple papers and there also is a special blank paper, but my question is about this specific scenario:

What happens if I have gotten a ballot with a political party printed on it, but in the voting station, I want to change it to another party. Can I do that?

Here is an example to clarify what I would like to achieve:

I arrive with my family to vote. When standing at the ballot selection I take a ballot with "Conservatives" like the rest of my family, but then when I go behind the curtain I'd rather vote for the Social Democrats. Is it possible to do this when I only brought a ballot saying Conservatives into the voting booth?

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    – Philipp
    Nov 10, 2019 at 12:08
  • 6
    Wait, you openly pick a paper with your favourite party and then secretly put that in a box? Nov 10, 2019 at 14:21
  • please clarify what you mean by 'changing it' are you talking about swapping the ballot or manipulating the ballot?
    – Adam
    Nov 11, 2019 at 10:29
  • 1
    @HagenvonEitzen You may openly pick one or several ballot paper(s), but you secretly put one paper (witch may or may not be one you openly picked) in an envelope. That envelope is placed sealed in a ballot box.
    – Guran
    Nov 11, 2019 at 12:14
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    @ThomasKoelle It's not unique to Sweden. I've seen the same system in Norway.
    – michau
    Nov 11, 2019 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


Briefly: Yes, you can change the ballot to a different party in the booth.

In Sweden sometimes you get ballots in the mail from parties eager to gain your vote. There are also ballots in the voting place.

You pick these 'publicly' from a stand and it is normal to pick many of them and bring several into the voting station (behind curtain) and then pick privately among them. You can leave the ones you don't use in there or put them into your pocket. You leave the voting station with a sealed envelope with the real ballot in it. This is your vote.

If you are in company of a nosy family when picking the public ones, consider preparing, and bringing a blank one covertly writing your desired party in the voting station. The pre-printed ballots are mainly there for convenience. A friend working in voting place said they are lenient when interpreting handwritten ones, take that for what it is. If the opportunity presents itself you can visit the voting place without company and take the appropriate ballot in advance.

From the official page if you by 'changing' mean 'manipulating the ballot':

Valid ballot papers

A ballot paper is valid if it contains a party name the party has notified its participation in the election. It can be a name ballot paper, a party ballot paper or a blank ballot paper on which the voter has written a party name.

New routines from 2018 (official video explainer of how to set up a voting place, in swedish) instructs to make the area where you pick your ballots more covered. I do not remember this from 2018, but if your voting place is up to date with these new routines you should be able to pick from the ballot stand in privacy from your family.

Clarification (from comment by Guran): If you pick a ballot paper for Party A and (behind the screen) cross out "Party A" and clearly write "Party B", that will count as a valid vote for Party B.

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    @ThomasKoelle If you pick a ballot paper for Party A and (behind the screen) cross out "Party A" and clearly write "Party B", that will count as a valid vote for Party B.
    – Guran
    Nov 11, 2019 at 12:21
  • As someone who worked as a "ballot-receiver" during the 2019 EU parliament election, I can with certainty say that we would reject such a ballot since we do not allow additional writing on ballots. Mainly to not allow it to become a subjective matter what they have actually written, but also so that you cannot uniquely identify your ballot. Note: The public is free to observe the opening and counting of ballots, so that's to combat "proving" to someone you voted a particular way.
    – Chrimle
    Dec 29, 2021 at 22:15

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