There is little enthusiasm in the House of Representatives for a proposal from Minister Ollongren of the Interior to experiment with two new ballots. This showed during the Chamber debate on the bill.
Ollongren makes this proposal to the House because the current ballots are very large. “The past election has just succeeded in getting the 37 parties side by side on one piece of paper,” says Ollongren. “And the letters are almost unreadable, especially for people over fifty.”
A second reason for Ollongren to try something new is counting. Municipalities say it takes a lot of time to expand the large ballots and count the sheets of paper. The Association of Dutch Municipalities therefore advocates smaller forms that can once be automatically counted.
The latter does not weigh heavily for the Chamber. It should be an improvement for voters, not for the counters, several MPs said. And whether the two test ballots are an improvement is questioned by VVD, CDA, SP, PvdA, PVV, BBB and MP Omtzigt.
The model 1 ballot ballot is a ballot per party with the names of the candidates. It is intended that the voter in the voting booth behind a curtain will remove the ballot of the party of their choice from a box. Next, the voter on that party form must turn the box of the favorite candidate red.
Several parties object to this model because the curtain of the voting booth would not guarantee the confidentiality of voting enough. PVV MP Bosma adds that if the boxes with forms are empty, the voter should say outside the voting booth “the PVV ballots are out”.
Ollongren says that the boxes with forms are constantly replenished, and the curtain is safe.
The ‘model 2’ ballot ballot is a ballot with all the party logos at the top. Below is a list of numbers to choose the candidate. The names of candidates are not on it. The voter must color two boxes, the party‘s and the candidate’s number.
the voter only turns one box red, including that of the party, the vote is invalid.
This model also comes up with objections. For example, PvdA-MP and former Chamber President Arib believes that by giving the candidates a number alone, voterand candidate bonding disappears. BBB MP Van der Plas says farmers may also give their cows numbers, but at least still know where Klara-23 stands and how she is doing.
Ollongren says the voter can find out which candidate belongs to each song in a different way. The names are not printed on the note. She also wants to know if a new ballot with pictures and numbers works better for low-literate people. She wants to experiment with this model 2 in the municipal elections in March 2022 in a few municipalities.
If the House of Representatives and then the House of Representatives agree to the law, the city councils where the experiments are planned may also speak out. So there may be no or few municipalities who want to participate in the trial.
The VVD finds it all short, and MP Ellian: “The local councillors should be working on other things just before the election, such as the fun of the campaign and contacts with voters.” He also does not find it clear why these two models were chosen on the basis of experience in Norway and other countries.
“Is it wise to continue with this,” SP MP Leijten wonders. “There‘s quite a lot of resistance here, and there’s a lot of time pressure on it.” Ollongren admits that time has become tight, but insists that it is wise to allow an experiment due to the problem of the large ballots. She has promised the House that if that is not possible in the forthcoming municipal elections, the experiment will move on to the next election.
Ollongren made the proposal in May 2020 and sent additional information to the House of Representatives in June 2021. Ultimately, it was only debated today. Whether the House of Representatives agrees to the law is still uncertain. It will be voted on next week.