Do governments increase public employment in election years? This paper answers this question by using data from Sweden and Finland, two countries that are similar in many respects but in which local elections are held at different points in time. These facts make it possible for us to separate an election effect from other time effects. Our results indicate that there is a statistically significant election year effect in local public employment, a production factor that is highly visible in the welfare services provided by the local governments in the Scandinavian countries. The effect also seems to be economically significant; the municipalities employ 0.6 more full-time employees per 1,000 capita in election years than in other years (which correspond to an increase by approximately 1 percent).