8,700 votes lost in Dutch polling stations were human error: Report
A massive 8,700 votes from the municipalities Boxmeer and Bergeijk were not counted in the parliamentary election in March due to human error at the main polling station in Den Bosch, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs revealed after receiving a report from Mayor Ton Rombouts, Brabants Dagblad reports.
Rombouts had Andersson Elffers Felix investigate the incident. An employee of the main polling station in Den Bosch decided to deviate from the national rule that states that each vote must be counted at least twice by different employees. As a results, in the votes from Boxmeer only the votes for the VVD, PvdA, PVV and SP were counted. And votes for the D66 weren't counted in the votes from Bergeijk.
The researchers concluded that the decision to deviate from the prescribed procedure was motivated by haste. There were only 15 computers available to enter the results, and the employee was concerned that doing it twice would mean that the results would be delivered too late. The investigators stressed that one employee made this decision. "This was not discussed with other members of the team, the project leader or with the head of department."
As mitigating circumstances, the investigators refer to the decision to count votes manually in this election, due to fear of hacks. "This increased the risk of human error. In addition, the requirements for processing were only made known shortly before election day."
Minister Plasterk called for more transparency and better checks to be implemented on vote counts in future elections. He also wants to change the Election Law to make it possible for poling stations to correct mistakes in a "transparent and verifiable manner".