House of Representatives rejects proposal for experiments with electronic voting

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The House of Representatives has rejected an initiative law by VVD member Joost Taverne about enabling experiments with electronic voting in elections on Tuesday. MPs expressed concern about fraud risks and costs.

Taverne wanted to achieve with his private member’s bill that there would be fewer wrongly cast votes, that votes would be counted faster and with fewer errors and that there would be greater accessibility for people with a physical disability. It concerned a temporary experimental scheme and the VVD member thought he had built in the necessary safeguards, but his proposal nevertheless encountered objections.

During a debate in mid-May, CDA MP Amhaouch wondered whether it would be wise to experiment with the electoral process and Van Raak of the SP pointed out that the use of voting computers was stopped in 2007 because of concerns about voting fraud. There was also criticism that Taverne did not describe precisely enough in his proposal what ‘electronic facilities’ for voting should look like. This would later have to be worked out in a General Administrative Order. Bosma of the PVV expressed his concerns about high costs.

That his proposal wouldn’t make it realized Tavern himself already on Monday, when he pointed to the ‘turn’ that PvdA MP Oosenbrug made. In a video, Oosenbrug announced that he only wanted to vote on a law after other matters had been settled first. Among other things, she mentioned the costs and the fact that the proposal had not yet been submitted to the Council of State for advice.

Taverne’s proposal describes a system whereby voters print their vote on a ballot, put it in a ballot box, after which the votes are counted electronically. According to Taverne, the system is safe, partly because the votes are not stored electronically. By the end of 2017, according to his initial plans, the system should already be able to be used in elections about municipal redivisions.

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