Roles and responsibilities in the conduct of elections are divided hierarchically. The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development bears overarching responsibility for elections in Norway, while the Norwegian Directorate of Elections bears operational responsibility at the state level. The municipal electoral committees and county electoral committees are responsible for conducting elections in their constituencies.
Local roles and responsibilities
Municipalities are the ones that are closest to the voter. They are also responsible for preparing for and conducting elections in their municipality. This means that municipalities are responsible for most of the practical work in connection with elections. The duties of municipal electoral committees include:
- processing parties' list proposals for municipal council elections;
- recruiting election officials;
- ordering all of the equipment necessary to conduct an election;
- finding suitable premises for advance voting and polling stations; and
- conducting the voting process, as well as counting all of the votes that have been cast.
In municipal council elections, electoral committees are also responsible for carrying out electoral counts, which entails distributing seats and returning the candidates elected to the new municipal council. In addition to this, municipalities are responsible for providing voters with guidance on questions concerning the election process.
A county electoral committee is responsible for preparing for and conducting elections in its county authority. Among other things, county electoral committees process parties' list proposals for parliamentary and county council elections. They are also responsible for checking the municipalities' counts in county council and parliamentary elections, as well as carrying out electoral counts by distributing seats and returning candidates.
State roles and responsibilities
The Norwegian Directorate of Elections bears operational responsibility at the state level for preparing for and conducting parliamentary, municipal and county council elections, as well as for direct elections to district councils. The directorate also assists the Sami Parliament and Longyearbyen with conducting their elections. The role of the Norwegian Directorate of Elections is to advise municipalities and county authorities on the rules, systems, and procedures, and to inform votes when, where, and how they can vote. Together with the municipalities, the directorate ensures voters receive both general and local information. The Norwegian Directorate of Elections also offers assistance to, and services for, the municipalities and county authorities designed to help ensure that elections are conducted properly and securely.
The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development bears responsibility for the electoral system and electoral rules, as well as overarching responsibility for the conduct of elections in Norway. The ministry also defines the framework for conducting elections and the development of the electoral system, such as approving trials. The ministry is the final appeals body for local elections and prepares appeals processes for parliamentary elections. The Norwegian Directorate of Elections is an agency of the ministry.
The national electoral committee is appointed by the King in Council prior to each parliamentary election. The national electoral committee performs important duties relating to verifying and approving parliamentary elections. In 2017, it consisted of eight members, each with a substitute, with one member from each party that held a seat in the Storting at the time.
The Storting also plays an important role in parliamentary elections. The first task after the opening of a new Storting is to elect a Credentials Committee responsible for approving the election of parliament and ensuring that the elected representatives have the right to sit in the Storting. The Credentials Committee submits a recommendation to the Storting after the election in which one can read the committee's evaluation of the conduct of the election.