Tuesday 01 December 2020

Americans in NL are watching nervously as ballots are counted at home

While ballots are being counted in the United States, Americans living in the Netherlands are anxiously awaiting the results.

‘I’m exhausted,’ Katie McKinley, who was still awake at 7:30 this morning, told DutchNews.nl. The international human resources manager spent the evening at her home in The Hague, watching votes come in across the country, as Americans choose their next president.

Election watchers had warned in recent weeks that there would almost certainly be no winner on the day. Huge numbers of ballots were cast early or by mail as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

‘It’s nerve-wracking, I haven’t been sleeping,’ says Marina Williams, an academic who lives in Maastricht. She moved to the Netherlands two years ago for work but says that the country’s political situation made the decision to move easier.

People were stunned in 2016 when reality TV star Donald Trump was declared the winner. Trump has worsened an already fractious political situation in the country, which is also facing the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world. More than nine million people are infected and an estimated 230,000 people have died.

In the run-up to the election, Trump’s Republican Party has fought against counting ballots and restricting access to the polls in what election experts worry is undermining democracy.

Both McKinley and Williams voted by absentia ballot. Neither has received confirmation that their ballot has been received yet, despite both mailing them in September.

While ballots continued to be tallied on the other side of the ocean, Americans in the Netherlands wait anxiously. ‘I just want this to all be over,’ says Michael Tuner, who works in IT and moved to the Netherlands five years ago. ‘The last four years have felt like a nightmare I can’t wake up from.’

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