Government: use of voting printer and electronic vote counting has its advantages
The Government believes implementing the use of voting printers and the electronic counting of the votes by the use of scanning equipment, as was recommended by the Van Beek Committee, has definite advantages.
Such is apparent from the Government's response to the Committee's report ('Every vote counts. Electronic voting and vote counting' [in Dutch: Elke stem telt. Elektronisch stemmen en tellen]). However, the Government does demand that further research be carried out on a number of aspects before it proceeds to making its final decision. The Government has stated to have considered the Electoral Council's earlier response to the Committee's report in coming to its opinion.
The Government believes that the time is 'not (yet) ripe' for implementing Internet voting. Such is apparent from the same letter to the House, the Government responding to the research report on allowing voters abroad to cast their vote via the Internet.
The Government has announced that further consideration of the Committee's recommendations and, where necessary, the carrying out of further research 'has high priority'. Aspects that the Government believes require further research include the following questions: Does the proposal actually make the voting process more accessible to visually impaired voters? Would it be possible to have monitoring 'compromising radiation' become an indictable offence? What checks are required to determine the correctness of the electronic vote counting process?
Tests and costs
The Government's response to the report also contains the proviso that the vote printing and vote counting equipment needs to be subjected to rigorous testing prior to its being taken into use. The response also emphasises that, as yet, it is impossible to estimate the costs associated with the implementation of this new way of voting and vote counting. The Government states that its discussions with the municipal governments on the issue of funding are 'crucial to the financial feasibility of actually implementing electronic voting and vote counting'.
Electoral Council's response
The Electoral Council had already responded to the Van Beek Committee's report. In its response, the Electoral Council subscribed to the Van Beek Committee's conclusion that the electoral process would benefit from the use of electronic voting and vote counting equipment, and stated that the voting system proposed by the Committee (namely, voting printer and scanner) is also recommended by the Electoral Council. The Council in its response did express reservations with regard to some of the requirements the Committee sets to its recommended system.