Many municipalities holding after-parties to await election results
In many municipalities, including large cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht, there will be gatherings on Wednesday evening where political parties can jointly await the announcement of the provisional election results. There will be reports on the results evenings on television.
There will be a gathering in The Hague's city hall from 10:30 p.m. Representatives of the political parties are invited. Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb will announce the provisional results in the Rotterdam city hall at around midnight. In Utrecht, mayor Sharon DIjksma will do this in TivoliVredenburt via a digital connection because she tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. There is also a gathering in the Stopera in Amsterdam.
While Wednesday is the actual election day for the municipal council, the counting of votes cast on Monday and Tuesday has already started. Due to the coronavirus, the government decided to make early voting possible, like last year's parliamentary elections. After the polls closed on Monday and Tuesday, polling station members determined how many eligible voters voted by counting voting passes and proxy certificates. The ballots will be counted during the day on Wednesday.
The early voting results will be announced after 9:00 p.m. when all the polling stations are closed. From then on, the counters will start counting the votes cast on Wednesday. This is done manually and begins with a quick count at list level: adding up all valid votes per political party. The polling stations will pass on these results to their municipality and count the valid votes per candidate. When that is done, the polling station will draw up an official report and bring it to the municipality.
The counting process will be slightly different in 34 municipalities, including Rotterdam, Utrecht, Groningen, and Maastricht. They are participating in an experiment with central counting. The polling stations will only count the votes per list on Wednesday and the votes per candidate on Thursday at one or more central locations. This central counting system was experimented with for the first time for the European Parliament elections in 2019. The aim is to make the counting process more reliable, transparent, and controllable.
NOS will report on the election evening from 8:30 p.m. Rob Trip and Simone Weimans will provide the presentation. From 9:00 p.m. Malou Peter will present exit polls from Ipsos for the municipalities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Breda, Zwolle, Veendam, Sittard-Geleen, and Nieuwegein. The broadcast will switch between gatherings in those municipalities.
A joint program by Jinek and RTL NIeuws will be on RTL4 from 9:30 p.m. There too, reporters will attend the political party gathering and present the polls and results. Eva Jinek will talk with political reporter Fons Lambie and several prominent former politicians.
The preliminary results of the municipal elections will be announced on Wednesday evening, probably around midnight, in most municipalities. The final results will follow on Monday, March 21 at 10:00 a.m.
On Wednesday, March 30, the incumbent councilors will step down, and the new councilors will be installed. Due to a municipal reclassification with Weesp, this will already happen in the municipality of Amsterdam on March 24.
The counting of votes is public. People can come and watch, but they cannot hinder the counters. In Amsterdam, all ballots are counted in the RAI, Rotterdam in Ahoy, Utrecht in the Jaarbeurs, and The Hague largely in the World Forum.
Reporting by ANP.