Committee to assess electronic voting

Mr Plasterk, the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, has set up a committee that will assess whether and how electronic voting can be reintroduced. 'If possible and responsible', the minister considers a reintroduction of voting computers during the 2017 elections to the House of Representatives.

©Teun Berserik

Apart from an inventory of the risks of electronic voting, the committee sets requirements that electronic voting should meet. The committee will issue its recommendation before the end of 2013.

Voting machines

For more than thirty years, votes in the Netherlands were usually cast by means of voting machines. However, the use of voting machines was prohibited in 2007. Voting machines could not sufficiently guarantee the secrecy of the vote. The reliability and transparency of counting votes was also under discussion.

Korthals Altes Committee

Following the discussion on voting machines, the Korthals Altes Committee was set up in 2007 in order to evaluate the election process. The use of voting machines has been given a lot of attention in the evaluation. The committee's final report pointed out the eight guarantees that the Dutch election process should meet. These are: transparency, verifiability, integrity, eligibility to vote, freedom to vote, secrecy of the vote, equal suffrage and accessibility.

The committee concluded that 'from the viewpoint of transparency and verifiability, voting with ballot papers in a polling station' is to be preferred. The Committee did recognize the (added) value of electronic tools, especially in respect of a ballot printer with an electronic vote counter. These tools are not yet available. Since the 2009 elections to the European Parliament, the (red) pencil and ballot paper have therefore been reintroduced throughout the Netherlands.