Saturday 28 November 2020

Local elections pass coronavirus test, turnout hardly affected


A number of local elections in Groningen and Noord-Brabant on Wednesday have tested the way forward for coronavirus-proof voting ahead of next March’s national vote, officials said on Thursday.

The elections were called because of boundary changes and in all cases turnout was close to levels recorded in the last local elections in 2018, showing people were still happy to vote.

In Groningen, three local authorities – Appingedam, Loppersum and Delfzijl – have been merged into a single region with the name Eemsdelta. Turnout was 44% and local parties won 11 seats on the new council, followed by Labour on five.

Local parties also topped the polls in various Brabant local authority areas, including Vucht and Boxtel, where boundary changes have led to a rejig of council coverage.

In total, 115,000 people were able to vote on Wednesday, with turnout averaging around 50%.

The Netherlands goes to the polls to elect a new government next March and a number of measures are being taken to ensure that coronavirus does not have an impact.

These include keeping some polling stations open for three days to spread voting and allowing some people to vote by mail.

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