Online voting aids get record number of visitors in Dutch election

Parliamentary election in the Netherlands, 15 Mar 2017
Parliamentary election in the Netherlands, 15 Mar 2017. (Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times)

Despite being offline for large parts of Tuesday and Wednesday due to cyber attacks, online voting aids Stemwijzer and Kieskompas helped a record number of visitors make an informed decision during this election period. A total of 8 million people completed online questionnaires on the sites to find out which party best suits their needs and beliefs, the Telegraaf reports.

Stemwijzer helped a total of 6.8 million people with what party to vote for during this election period. That's nearly 2 million more than the 4.85 million people who used the site in the 2012 election. Smaller Kieskompas helped 1.2 million people, exactly 500 thousand more than in 2012. 

On Wednesday the two voting aids announced that the sites were unavailable several times due to repeated DDoS attacks, in which large amounts of data requests are sent to servers in order to overload and crash them. Despite this Stemwijzer still got peaks of 40 thousand visitors per hour on Wednesday, ProDemos, the company behind the site, said to the Telegraaf. A total of one million people visited the site on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kieskompas and ProDemos believe that the attacks on their sites were a coordinated effort. They've filed chargers. The perpetrators behind the attacks are still unclear, though it is clear that most of the traffic came from abroad. According to Kieskompas, they "have suspicions about where the attacks came from, but only in a few days may it become clear who is behind it."