Monday 30 November 2020

Dutch general election will take place over three days to spread voting

Early voting and postal voting for people unable to cast their vote in person for medical reasons will be features of the next general election on March 17, Dutch media report on Friday.

The Volkskrant, citing ‘political sources’, said earlier that the measures would be part of a briefing to be sent to MPs by home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongrens at the beginning of November.

The paper says early voting will definitely take place on the two preceding days which means people will be able to vote on March 15, 16 and 17 at a limited number of polling stations.

A spokesman for the minister also said ‘a series of measures will be taken to prevent the elections from being derailed by coronavirus’, the paper said.

One of these measures – allowing people to take charge of three rather than two proxy votes –  is already part of the six-month temporary election legislation which will be voted on by the Senate next Tuesday.

Other measures included in the legislation include boosting staff numbers at polling stations and stringent hygiene guidelines to avoid contagion. Some €30m has already been set aside for the purpose.

One of the difficulties faced by the cabinet is that many elderly people usually volunteer to man the polling stations and this is now not being recommended. A campaign to attract more volunteers will be launched in December.

An added difficulty is that proxy voting is not fraud proof while postal voting is not seen as a safe way of voting either, the Volkskrant said, citing a 2018 survey among voters.

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