'Stemfies' during elections not banned

Minister Plasterk of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has no intention to ban so-called 'stemfies': selfies taken by voters in a polling booth. This is shown by the evaluation of both elections which was sent to the House of Representatives today. In the evaluation, Minister Plasterk also discusses the Electoral Council's recommendation following both elections.

photo of woman voting
Image: Dirk Hol mediatheek government of the Netherlands

Minister Plasterk shares the Electoral Council's point of view that secrecy of the vote is one of the most important guarantees of the election process, but he has no indications that 'stemfies' were taken during the last elections under pressure or as proof of votes being sold. Moreover, coercion and bribery are already punishable. The question is also whether a ban can actually be enforced. That is why the Minister, unlike the Electoral Council, currently does not favour an amendment to the Electoral Act in order to impose a ban on 'stemfies'.

Announcement of the results of the elections to the European Parliament

In its recommendation, the Electoral Council suggested that if the elections of the Dutch members to the European Parliament continue to be held on Thursdays, it remain possible for the principal electoral committees to provide the media with results on the next Sunday evening. In that case, however, the results will be limited to results at party level. In response to this, the Minister wants to develop a procedure that, during the next elections to the European Parliament, will allow the media to immediately announce the preliminary results at party level on Sunday evening at 11.00 pm, right after the closure of the final ballot boxes in the other Member States.

Experiment with central counting of votes

The experiment with central counting of votes which was conducted in a number of municipalities during the elections to the European Parliament went well. The intention is to conduct new experiments with central counting of votes in 30 municipalities during the elections in March 2015.

Experiment with new ballot paper model also in the Netherlands

The elections to the European Parliament were the first in which a new ballot paper model was used, which can also be sent to voters abroad by e-mail. Almost all voters who voted cast a valid vote. With this new model, it also took less time to count the votes. It is therefore the intention to use this ballot paper again during the next elections in which voters from abroad may participate. Moreover, Minister Plasterk wants to make it possible to conduct experiments with this ballot paper in the Netherlands as well. The Temporary Experiments Act [Tijdelijke experimentenwet] will be amended for this purpose.