82.6 percent voter turnout in 2021 Dutch election
An estimated 82.6 percent of eligible voters in the Netherlands were estimated to have cast a ballot in the 2021 parliamentary elections, broadcaster NOS reported based on exit polling data from Ipsos. If that holds, it would be the highest rate of voter turnout in ten such elections with 85.8 percent casting a ballot in 1986.
Turnout reached 81.6 percent back in the last election, when a divided electorate meant that four parties needed to band together to form Prime Minister Mark Rutte's third coalition government in 2017.
Some 13.2 million Dutch people were allowed to participate in the election, with polling places having closed at 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, voting this year was different than in the past, with citizens allowed to cast a ballot in person since Monday and the 2.4 million people over 70 years of age able to vote by mail.
An estimated 26 percent of those who did not vote said it was because they have no confidence in the political system, and another 25 percent said they have no interest in politics. About 22 percent told Ipsos they were afraid of getting a coronavirus infection, while 21 percent said they were still undecided. A further 19 percent simply said voting does not accomplish anything, and 8 percent said they refuse to vote on general principle
There were 1,600 poling places open for early voting, and an additional 7,600 were opened on Wednesday. At the start of the day, an estimated 12 percent had already cast a ballot. That rose to 30 percent at 10:40 a.m., and reportedly reached 57 percent at 5:45 p.m. on its way to 74 percent by 7:45 p.m. The total stood at 81 percent as the polls closed at 9 p.m.
The previous Provincial States election in 2019 brought 57.9 percent of eligible voters to the polls, where ballots determined representation in government at the provincial level and thus also the composition of the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. The 2015 Provincial States election was decided by 47.8 percent of voters.
Turnout in the Netherlands is typically lower for European Parliamentary elections, with 41.2 percent showing up in 2019, and 37.3 percent in 2014.