What should I expect when voting in a Dutch municipal election?
March 15, 2014 10:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm an American who has lived in Groningen for over 5 years. I am voting in the municipal elections this Wednesday, but I have no idea what to expect when I go to the voting location. My Dutch is not that great. If someone could fill me in on what I should expect when I go to vote, that would be great!
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
1. You've probably received a large sheet of paper with all the candidates for Groningen, the "kandidatenlijst". Decide who to vote for before you go to a 'stemlokaal' (locations can be found in this pdf. You can vote in any voting location in Groningen, but not outside the city. The locations open at 7.30 am and stay open until 9 pm.

2. Make sure you bring your 'stempas' (voting pass, which you have received by mail, and probably looks like the image here).
3. Also, bring your ID-card or passport!

4. Once you get there, you show your voting pass and id card to someone sitting at a table.
You'll receive a sheet comparable to the 'kandidatenlijst' and you walk to one of the voting booths. You mark the candidate you want to vote for (just one!) and deposit the voting sheet in one of the containers/boxes.

5. Late in the evening, when the votes are counted, they are probably published on the municipal website.

Is that the kind of information you were looking for?
posted by Ms. Next at 11:33 AM on March 15, 2014

Response by poster: Yes, that helps. But there are hundreds of candidates! I choose one? Not a party?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:43 PM on March 15, 2014

Yes, you choose one candidate. Of course, in preparing for the election you pick a party first, but when you go into the voting booth, you have to choose a candidate.

Typically, people choose the first from the list for 'their' party, but if there's someone you like further down the list, you pick them.

To pick a party, a lot of Dutch people use a "kieskompas" (election compass) or something similar, but I don't think there's one for Groningen in English.
posted by Ms. Next at 1:13 PM on March 15, 2014

Wikipedia gives a nice example about assigning people to seats (just read the example of "Oude IJsselstreek"), which explains the consequences of voting for a person instead of a party. In practice, like Ms. Next said, if you don't have a particular preference, people just vote for the "lijsttrekker", the first person on the list of the party they vote for.
posted by blub at 1:25 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you want to give it a go in Dutch, try groningen.stemwijzer.nl.
posted by mirthe at 12:12 PM on March 16, 2014

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