Early voting on Monday and Tuesday, counting on Wednesday
During the municipal elections it will not only be possible to vote early, but also to start counting the votes early. The votes cast on Monday and Tuesday will be counted during the daytime on Wednesday.
On Monday and Tuesday after the polling stations close at 9 p.m., the polling station members will first determine how many eligible voters have voted. They do this by counting the number of valid voting passes and proxy voting certificates.
The ballots will then be counted on Wednesday. The outcome of that count will be announced after 9 p.m. On Wednesday, the counters will also start counting the votes cast on that day at 9 p.m.
Counting is done by hand and starts with a quick count at list level: polling station members add up all valid votes per political party. The polling stations pass on the results of the quick count to their municipality. Then, the valid votes per candidate are counted. When this is ready, the polling station draws up an official report, which is brought to the municipality.
The counting process will be slightly different in 34 municipalities. Those municipalities, which include Rotterdam, Utrecht, Groningen and Maastricht, are participating in an experiment with central counting. Polling stations in these municipalities only count the number of votes per list on Wednesday, and the votes per candidate are only counted on Thursday, at one or more central locations.
Experiments with this central counting system have been going on since the European Parliament elections in 2019. The aim is to make the counting process more reliable and transparent, and therefore more controllable.
The polling stations will add up the results on the basis of the official reports. The municipal central electoral committee will determine the official result and the distribution of seats in a public session on March 21. On March 30, the incumbent councilors will step down and the new members will be installed. Due to a municipal reclassification with Weesp, this will already take place on March 24 in the municipality of Amsterdam.
The counting of votes is public. People are allowed to watch, but are not allowed to hinder polling station members during the counting. Face masks are not mandatory in the polling stations and there is no need to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. However, the municipalities are setting up the premises in such a way that a distance of 1.5 meters can be kept and extra hygiene measures are taken.
Reporting by ANP.