Almost 65,000 Invalidated mail-in ballots in March elections
Votes of around 65,000 people older than 70 were not counted in the March elections because they were not cast correctly. That number was equivalent to the number of votes needed to elect a politician to one of the 150 seats in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Parliament, NOS reported in partnership with the Open State Foundation.
The organizations found that the most common mistake when submitting a mail-in ballot was the voter's failure to include a stempas, or ‘voting pass’, a special document given to eligible voters. The other common mistake were envelopes sealed which did not include a ballot paper at all. These votes were then set aside, given extra scrutiny, and eventually tossed out.
At the end of the elections, the Electoral Council reported that 0.29 percent of the mailed votes had been declared invalid. However, this number did not include votes received via post which were already set aside before counting began. It is now evident that roughly six percent of the voter envelopes submitted via post were not counted.
However, as the multi-day period of in-person voting began last month, the Dutch government also reminded voters that some known mistakes could be corrected at the last minute. For example, the government said people who forgot to mail their stempas with their ballot could still bring their pass to vote at a polling place.
A total of 1,069,048 mail-in ballots were correctly submitted and counted as part of the vote total. Voter turnout in the March election was 10,422,852, or 78.7 percent of eligible voters.
Due to coronavirus, the Cabinet gave those over 70 years of age the opportunity to vote by post in the general election. It was the first time mail-in voting was used domestically.