Every Norwegian citizen aged 18 or older by the end of the election year has the right to vote in an election. Norway practises universal suffrage. With the exception of certain people that hold public office, everyone who is entitled to vote and who has lived in Norway for the last 10 years is eligible to stand for election to the Storting.
The Norwegian electoral system is based on the principles of direct election and proportional representation in multi-member constituencies. Direct election means that the electors vote directly for representatives of their constituency by giving their vote to an electoral list. Proportional representation means that the number of seats won by a party is, as far as possible, directly proportionate to the total number of votes received by each party in any given constituency. Both political parties and other groups can put up lists at elections.
There are 19 counties in Norway, which make up the constituencies. These are divided into polling districts where voting takes place. The size and population of the 19 constituencies determines the number of seats each one has in the Storting.
Each constituency has an additional “seat at large”. These seats are assigned to even out discrepancies between the number of votes received and the number of seats in the Storting. In order to compete for a seat at large, the parties must obtain more than 4% of the national vote. By comparing the actual distribution of seats with what would have been the case if the country were one big constituency, it is possible to determine which parties are under-represented. These parties are awarded seats at large in the constituencies where they were closest to winning an ordinary seat.