Around one third of overseas voting forms requested by Dutch nationals living abroad to take part in the European elections never arrived, according to research by a foundation set up to represent Dutch expats.
The SNBN’s vote tracker traces what happened to 699 expats who planned to vote for the 26 Dutch MEPs. Of them, 214 got no documents and 16 received the paperwork too late to take part, the foundation said in a statement.
A similar picture emerged when the votes were being counted. In Washington, for example, 4,000 Dutch nationals had signed up to vote, but only 2,346 votes were actually counted at the Dutch embassy in Washington, SNBN chairman Eelco Keij said.
‘Whatever the reason, the percentage of voting forms which did not arrive is unacceptable,’ Keij said.
The government has said it will look into automating the overseas voting system, but it is unclear if this will happen ahead of the 2021 national elections.
The SNBN research also showed that GroenLinks was the most popular party among the 35,600 Dutch expats who voted, although Forum voor Democratie, which backs a Nexit, topped the vote in Spain.
‘Forum was not in the top three in any other place,’ the foundation said in a press release. ‘In total, one in five expats in Spain voted for Forum, with the VVD second and the PvdA and GroenLinks joint third.’ Thousands of Dutch pensioners, known as pensionados, have retired to the warmer Spanish climes.
EU nationals in the Netherlands also faced problems voting in the European elections because of communication issues.
Questions have also been asked in parliament about local authority failures to inform EU nationals that they needed to be included on an official voting register.
In Britain too, thousands of EU nationals were turned away from polling stations because of red tape issues.
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