Time to vote (Or: 2022 municipal elections in The Hague)

Later this month the 2022 municipal elections will be held throughout The Netherlands. As usual, voting is done with paper and (red) pencil. During last year’s elections voters were allowed to take the red pencils home (nu.nl in Dutch) due to fears about corona, but that probably won’t happen this year. However one corona measure that has persisted is that most voting locations will be open three days (March 14, 15 and 16) instead of only one day, to spread out voters so that no location gets too busy.

A few days ago our voting cards arrived, and today a special “elections newspaper arrived”. As a non-Dutch and non-EU citizen I am allowed to vote in the municipal elections because I have lived in The Netherlands for at least 5 years. This will be my second time voting in the municipal elections. However, only Dutch citizens can vote in the national elections.

Here is a look at page 2 and 3 of the newspaper, and a look at my voting card (with personal information removed). I was pleased to see that page 2 had a large section in English explaining the basics about how to vote for these elections. Not that I need it, but non-Dutch EU citizens don’t have to wait 5 years to vote like I do, so they might not know enough Dutch yet to read the newspaper.

If you want a laugh, check out this 2017 article from the Washington post about how large the ballots are: With 28 parties running, Dutch voters have to use these really huge ballots. The article was about the national elections, but local election ballots are almost as large. It takes longer to unfold the thing than it does to actually vote. And don’t forget the poor volunteer who later needs to unfold all of these ballots and count the votes…

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