Nearly 13.6 million can vote in municipal election; Voting aid consulted 1.8 million times
Nearly 13.6 million people can cast their votes in this year's municipal election. 334 of the 345 municipalities are participating, and there are 8,235 council seats to fill. Online voting aid MijnStem, which is available for 253 municipalities, was consulted at least 1.8 million times in the run-up to the elections.
To promote the spread of voters and prevent overcrowded polling stations, the voting locations opened for three days, like during the parliamentary elections last year. On Monday and Tuesday, voters could go to over 1,700 polling stations. Today around 8,800 polling stations are open, most between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Face masks are not mandatory in the polling stations, and there is no need to maintain social distancing. Still, municipalizes set up the stations so that people can stay 1.5 meters apart.
Although 334 municipalities participate in the election, votes are cast for 333 councils. Residents of Weesp vote for the city council of Amsterdam, which they're joining this year. Eleven municipalities aren't having municipal elections today. In eight of these, council elections happened recently due to reclassifications. These are Eemsdelta, Boxtel, Vught, and Oisterwijk in 2020, and Maashorst, Land van Cuijk, Pumerend, and Dijk en Waard in 2021. The municipalities of Brielle, Westvoorne, and Hellevoetsluis will hold elections later. They're merging as of 1 January 2023.
A total of 2,971 parties are participating in the elections - 1,776 national parties and 1,095 local parties. A total of 45,994 candidates compete for 8,235 city council seats. There are at least three candidates for every seat up for grabs in the election. The number of municipal council seats depends on the number of residents. Eight municipalities have the highest number of seats possible, namely 45.
Almost all Netherlands residents over the age of 18 can vote. People can also vote if they come from a European Union member state or a non-EU country and have lived here for at least five years. People from outside the EU who have lived here for less than five years are not allowed to vote. This is most common in Amstelveen, where a tenth of the population can't vote. Wageningen and Diemen also have a relatively large number of residents who can't vote. Inmates are also allowed to vote. This is usually done by proxy but can also be done in person if they have leave for the day or if a polling station has been set up in the penitentiary.
To vote, you need a valid voting pass and valid proof of identity. An ID is valid for voting if it didn't expire more than five years ago.
Reporting by ANP