Upcoming elections to be spread over multiple days, allow vote-by-mail: report
To make sure that everyone can vote safely in the parliamentary elections on March 17 next year, some polling stations will already open a few days before election day. Voters who are unable to physically go to a polling station will be able to vote by mail, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs will inform parliament next month, sources in The Hague told the Volkskrant.
Measures for corona-proof elections are included in the Temporary Elections Act Covid-19, which the Senate will debate next week. Parliament already approved this temporary law, which will be valid for six months. The approval of this law is urgent, because it also applies to elections that are already happening next month. On November 18, there will be redivision elections in Groningen about merging Appingedam, Delfzijl, and Loppersum, and in Noord-Brabant about splitting the municipality of Haaren.
The temporary law states that there must be more polling stations and more polling station members, so that voters can spread out more and be helped where needed. It also contains all kinds of measures on what polling stations should look like to curb the risk of contamination. It does not yet specifically stipulate that some polling stations can open earlier, or that vote-by-mail will be expanded. Currently on Dutch living abroad can vote by mail.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations made 30 million euros available to municipalities to set up coronavirus-proof voting. The Ministry would not confirm the vote-by-mail expansion and that polling stations will be open for days, only telling the Volkskrant that "a series of measures are being taken to prevent the coroanvirus from disrupting elections."