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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Dutch elections

Although not really Koh Samui related, it does give insight into the live of an expat, a Dutch expat in this case.
Today the Dutch elections for a new government are being held. Since I still hold my Dutch passport and am a Dutch national, I also have to right to vote.
Being a Dutch national is something I'm reminded of today as well in a different way, since I need to visit the Immigration office in Nathon today to pick up my new one year visa.


The voting billet I received by mail early September

Although we live in the 21st century and a lot of my life nowadays is done and dealt with online, the Dutch government still hasn't found a secure enough way to allow online voting for the approximate 500.000 Dutch expats around the world who represent 6 seats in parliament. With a fairly complicated registering process, the Dutch expats can vote however.

This fairly complicated registering process means that you need to register with the city of Den Haag (The Hague) well in advance of the election date, by filling out an online questionair. I received a confirmation that I was registered a while later and you should then receive an envelope a few weeks before the election date with all you need to be able to vote. 

This envelope contains the voting billet, as pictured above and another, orange envelope, in my case addressed to the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok. Cast your vote, with a red pencil, otherwise the vote is invalid (!) and mail back to the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok and hope that the mail arrives safely and in time at the Embassy. No way to find out if your letter made it in time. I was able to send the return envelope in early September, which should be in time at the Embassy but in other regions or parts of the world where the votes can't be send to the nearest Dutch Embassy, the letters may reach the Netherlands way passed the voting deadline.

Some 8 years ago there was once the option for voting online, in which I participated and it was a piece of cake, compared to all the complicated procedures I had to go through ever since. I do hope that the Dutch government finds a way to allow online voting again.

Any expats of other nationalities have similar difficulties when they want to cast their votes? 

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Camille

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