Thursday 29 October 2020

Labour, D66 MPs call for early voting system ahead of March general election


D66 and Pvda MPs are calling on home affairs minister Kasja Ollongren to consider opening some polling stations two weeks ahead of the next March general election.

In particular, they say, polling stations should be open earlier in busy places, where long queues to vote may put people off waiting – because of coronavirus.

The plan will have costs attached, and will require more volunteers, the parties say, but they urge the minister to find out what the options are.

Last week Ollongren said that next year’s election will require some 70,000 volunteers to come forward – 40,000 to staff the polling stations and 30,000 to count votes. In addition, more reserves will be need to step in should coronavirus lead to volunteers staying home.

‘We are not talking about keeping every polling station open two weeks ahead of the election,’ Labour MP Attje Kuiken said. ‘But it would help to create more opportunities to vote in some places.’ In particular, people who are less able to move around or who have vulnerable health conditions could be encouraged to vote, she said.

In New Zealand, almost half the voters take advantage of early voting systems.

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