Posts Tagged With: Voting

Countdown to Wednesday (Or: Dutch elections 2017)

On Wednesday the Netherlands will have their parliamentary elections. The primary parties include VVD (liberal), PvDA (labor), PVV (far right), CDA (Christian Democrats) and more — way more. The Netherlands has many choices about who they want to vote for. The parties are so fragmented that no one party can lead – even if you get the majority, you still need to form a coalition with at least one other party to get a government going. Forming a coalition can take up to three months at times! Unfortunately for me I can’t vote – you need to be a Dutch citizen to vote in these elections.

Check out a a list of parties here:

Dutch elections 2017 - potential parties to vote for

A list of about 10 or so parties (from left to right) with the various members in each listed from top to bottom

This huge piece of paper is mailed to each household. On the back it lists places to vote:

Dutch elections 2017 - handout of places to vote

Locations where you can vote – though you are not required to vote in at a fixed location

What makes this election interesting is the inclusion of Geert Wilders, who is more aptly known as “the Dutch Trump”. His party (PVV, of which he is the only official member) advocates for the Netherlands leaving the EU in a sort nexit. He would have the country spend more on defense and less on wind power and foreign aid. He is also very anti-immigration. The Guardian has a very nice article covering the Dutch election and why it is so important – not just for the Netherlands but also for the EU.

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Categories: Culture | Tags: | 2 Comments

Time to vote (Or: American presidential election)

Next month (8 November) is the American presidential election. But early voting has already started – early voting in person is allowed in 33 states and early voting by mail is allowed in 27 states (English Wikipedia). And that isn’t even counting absentee ballots for citizens living overseas or in the military.

I am a bit late to the game but this year I decided to register to vote for the first time :). This entails filling out an absentee ballot and sending it back to the county of one’s last official U.S. address. For me, this means sending it to Rockland County, New York as my last American address was in Pearl River, NY. A county is made up of a group of cities that work together under the same administration, and an American state is generally made up of these counties. So state -> counties -> cities.

For voting information, you can visit fvap.gov, or the Federal Voter Assistance Program. They have articles there like 5 things you need to know to vote absentee.

Step 1 is to download the FPCA (Federal Post Card Application) and mail it in to get into their system. You have to do this at least every few years – mine says it expires at the end of 2018. Also in New York you have to declare your party about 5 or 6 months in advance (Democratic or Republication) if you want to vote in the primaries. The primaries were earlier in the year, and are used to determine who will lead the Republication and Democratic tickets. You can read more about it here.

The only drawback at the moment is that New York state hasn’t fully embraced the digital age. So I can download the FPCA from the website, but I need to send it a hard copy (even if I also email it).

Step 2 is waiting for the actual ballot to arrive. Mine arrived last week, and I filled it out and put it in the mail yesterday. Like the FPCA, you need to mail it a hard copy, not just vote online.

Here is a look at what arrived:

ny-federal-election-ballot

The actual ballot is open in the middle. Above that, you have a smaller envelope which you date and sign. You then place the ballot inside. It’s a security envelope, so you can’t look through it. Below, you have a slightly larger envelope which you put the smaller envelope inside. You put your return address in the upper left and (since I am not in the US) appropriate postage to get it back to the US. Postage is only paid for if mailed from within the US.

And a close-up of the actual ballot:

ny-federal-election-ballot-closeup

On this ballot, you had three choices: President and Vice President (column 1), US State Senator (column 2), and not pictured, the House representative. The last race featured Nita Lowey, who was running unopposed.

A bit interesting – you can see that the race for President/Vice President had some duplication, as both the Republications and the Green party supported Trump/Pence. Similarly, there was some duplication for Clinton/Kaine (Democrats, Working families, and Women I believe).

This ballot is from Rockland County, NY. The format probably varies with each county, so this isn’t indicative of all ballots. And in a week or two I can check back online to see if my ballot was received and counted.

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Voting in The Hague (Or: The Ukraine referendum)

Marco and I went to a voting center in the neighborhood to vote on the Ukraine referendum (ABC news – English). Well, he voted – I can’t yet. The weather turned pretty bad in the late afternoon, with pouring rain at times, but luckily it had mostly died by the time we went out.

I’m not a very political person, but basically the referendum is about a trade agreement between the EU and Ukraine, with some opponents saying it is really a thinly veiled stepping stone towards Ukraine asking for EU membership.

Left side of Dutch voting card

Voting card (or “Stempas” in Dutch)

In the end there wasn’t much to report on – while we had gone to a voting place which should have been a rather popular choice, there was no one else around voting at the time. (Which was to be expected – it remains to be seen if the Netherlands will get the 30% of voters needed to make this vote count, whatever the result is. But if they mange that, it would be “just barely”). Marco says the voting card only asked one question – to state if you were for or against the referendum. It was over before we knew it!

Voting in The Hague

“Your behavior in the voting area” – The images are probably enough, but 1) Have your voting card and ID card ready 2) Don’t block the view of the voting bureau workers 3) Only one person per booth

Interestingly, the voting card said that voters only needed to have an government-issued ID that was valid through April 6, 2011 – that is, 5 years ago. And no, it wasn’t a typo.

Marco says he will take me along for next year’s vote, for the Dutch elections. That should prove to be more lively.

Categories: Daily Dutch living, The Hague | Tags: | Leave a comment

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