Postal Voting Lawsuit: ‘Why do I have to risk my health? ‘

Today there is an interim order in The Hague on postal voting. Due to the coronapandemic, 70 people are allowed to cast their votes in favour of the Parliamentary elections by letter. Younger people with vulnerable health should not do so; the Animals Party considers that discrimination.

In addition to the 2.4 million voting rights over 70 years of age, according to the PvdD, there are โ€œmillions of adults with underlying diseases that the RIVM also considers to be โ€œvulnerableโ€. By motion, it was not possible to obtain postvoting rights for this group, and that is why the party is now trying to do it through the courts. The court in The Hague will consider the matter from 12.00 noon.

โ€œDont even go to the supermarket.โ€

Sabine Tebbens (36) has nerve disease MS and fervently hopes that the interim proceedings will succeed. The resident of Bakel has been inside since March last year. โ€œIf I get corona, I will most likely become severely disabled, even more than I already am, or die. Im not even going to the supermarket right now. Why should I risk my health to vote?โ€

Alternatively, Tebbens can authorize someone to vote on her behalf. Exceptionally, a person is now allowed to vote on behalf of three others, previously a maximum of two. โ€œBut not everyone is lucky to have someone for that. In addition, empowering someone means losing your voice secret immediately.โ€

The authorised person knows who has been voted for, because he or she will turn the box red on the ballot. According to Tebbens, having to confess such a situation of political color is contrary to the constitutional right to a secret ballot.

Unfeaable

Minister Ollongren (D66, Home Affairs) has already said that it is not feasible for all vulnerable persons to vote by post. Municipalities do not list which residents are at extra risk because of the coronavirus. According to Ollongren, it is not necessary to collect and verify this information in time for the elections on 17 March. According to her, this was feasible for 70+s.

โ€œ We are calling on people with vulnerable health: if you are concerned, vote on Monday or Tuesday,โ€ Ollongren said. Also on 15 and 16 March, depending on the number of inhabitants, one or more polling rooms will be open in each municipality. These are mainly intended for people who belong to a risk group.

But the PvdD and Bij1 do not consider these measures to be sufficient and want people with vulnerable health to vote by post. Interest organisations Longfonds, the Patient Federation and Eg are currently investigating whether the issue is a matter among their members.

The Vereniging Disabletenzorg Nederland (Vereniging Disabled-care) in a comment: โ€œIt is not realistic in the short time remaining to expect that there will also be an opportunity to vote by post for people with disabilities. That might be possible if the elections were postponed.โ€

Dangers of postal voting

According to experts, postal voting is risky. โ€œPeople can be influenced more easily, the secrecy of vote is undermined and letters could possibly be lost in the post,โ€ said Professor of Political Science Carolien van Ham to Nieuwsuur Monday.

The Electoral Council has also pointed out the risks of voting by letter. The advisory body therefore argued that letter voting should be possible only on request. โ€œAll voters for whom it is a problem to vote, either in the polling station or by proxy, will then be able to make use of that option, including voters under 70 years of age.โ€

That opinion was not taken over. All people who are 70 years of age or older on 17 March are sent a ballot, regardless of whether they want to. But by no means all the 70s indicate that they need it. โ€œIt is thus made possible for a group that is partly uninterested in it and made impossible for the group under 70 and is also vulnerableโ€, summarizes it by a spokesman for the Electoral Council.