Elections Second Chamber 2017 – Wednesday March 15

Elections Second Chamber 2017

On March 15th, 2017 the people of the Dutch Caribbean will participate for the first time in the election of the members Second Chamber (Tweede Kamer – Dutch Parliament). The Second Chamber consists of 150 members; they represent the Dutch population, thus you too. The Second Chamber has as a task to monitor the government and to make new laws together with the government. By voting you determine, along with other voters, who will gain a seat in the Second Chamber. The Second Chamber decides on topics that are important for you.The Second Chamber is the representation of the people at national level. The main task of the Second Chamber is to make laws together with the government and monitor the implementation thereof by the government. The members of the Second Chamber may also propose laws and adapt legislative proposals of the government. They can also pass motions to call unto the government to adjust policy. In addition, the Second Chamber carries out surveys to investigate the policy of the government afterwards. By voting you determine, along with other voters, which parties will gain a seat in the Second Chamber. You exert influence on the decision-making of the Second Chamber for the coming four years.

Can I vote?

The people of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius are allowed to vote for the members of the Second Chamber. Eligible to vote for these elections are:

  • –  inhabitants of the public entity,
  • – of Dutch nationality,
  • – who on the day of the elections (March 15th, 2017) are 18 years or older.

For all is applicable that they may not be excluded from the right to vote.

The public entity derives the right to vote from the population administration. If you are registered and you comply with the above mentioned criteria, you will automatically receive a notice (the voting pass) which will be sent to you. You can go directly to the Executive Council to find out whether or not you are registered as a voter. If you are not registered and you believe that you do comply with the above mentioned criteria, in that case you can submit a request to revise the registration and consider you as an eligible voter, whereby you will have to submit evidence which shows that you do comply with the criteria.

Persons, of whom the right to vote has been removed by a judge as an additional punishment to a conviction by the criminal justice, are not allowed to vote. Persons whom have a legal restrain because of a mental limitation, will receive a voting pass as usual.

Voting

HOW DO I VOTE?With your voting pass and your proof of identification you can cast your vote at any polling station on the island of Saba. On Sint Eustatius there is only one polling station. You vote by marking the white box in front of the candidate sheet with red on the ballot. The polling stations are opened on Wednesday, March 15th from 7:30 to 21:00 hrs. This is different than what you are used to. The election takes place on Wednesday and not on Friday, as you are accustomed. Information about the location of the polling station is provided by your public entity; and is noted on the back of the candidate’s lists which is distributed door to door.WHAT IS A VOTING PASS?

The voting pass is your proof of participation to the elections. Without a voting pass you cannot cast your vote. For the polling station having a voting pass constitutes the proof that you have not yet cast a vote. On the voting pass authenticity features and a unique number are placed.WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME IN ORDER TO VOTE?

In order to vote, you must bring your voting pass and a proof of identification. Without your voting pass and your proof of identification, you are not allowed to vote. Thus bring along a proof of identification. The following documents are accepted: a Dutch passport, ID card (sédula) and a driving license. Your proof of identification may be expired for a maximum of five years, thus valid till March 16th, 2017 or later.When you discover before the election that your proof of identification has expired for more than five years, you can request a new proof of identification at the Census Office.

If you discover only on March 15th that your proof of identification has expired for more than five years, you cannot vote. Voting without identification is not possible.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I DON’T HAVE A VOTING PASS (ANYMORE)?

In case you lost your voting pass or if this is torn, then request a new voting pass as soon as possible at your public entity. The deadline for requesting a replacement voting pass is March 14th. On March 15th you will not be able to receive a replacement voting pass.In case you did not receive your voting pass about 14 days before the elections, direct yourself to the Census Office. Most probably your voting pass could not be delivered, and is still available for you at the Census Office. You can collect your voting pass at the usual address. Do this as soon as possible. In the worst case, you can still collect your voting pass before March 15th.

DO I HAVE TO VOTE?

No, you are not obliged to vote. Voting is a right; you are allowed to determine whether you are going to make use of it. The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. By voting you also exert influence on how you are being represented in the Second Chamber. If you do want to vote, but are not able to do so on the day itself, you can let someone else vote on your behalf.

WHO CAN I VOTE ON?
In the coming Second Chamber elections, you will vote for the members of the Second Chamber. There are a total of 150 seats to be distributed. You can find the names of the candidates on the candidates’ lists. These will be delivered door to door no later than March 10th. The parties participating to the Second Chamber elections are different from the ones you know from the Island Council elections. Most (and maybe even all of the) participating lists are established in the European part of the Netherlands. However, possibly there are candidates on the lists who have a special relationship with the Caribbean part of the Netherlands. Familiarize yourself with the programs of the different parties. Therein you will find the opinions of the parties concerning a lot of issues that are important to you. The programs of the political parties can be found on the internet. There are also various voting indicators, which can help you to make a decision.
The number one on the list is the party leader. The political party decides who that is. The names of the other candidates follow under the name of the party leader. You can also vote for one of them: that is called the preference vote. If this candidate obtains 25% of the number of votes that is necessary for the electoral threshold, he is directly elected in preference before the candidates higher on the list. Your vote is not lost if you vote for a candidate who has ultimately not been chosen. Your vote will then benefit the other candidates on the same list.The ballot sheet

The ballot sheet looks different than you are used to. It is black and white and it does not contain pictures of the candidates. Many parties are participating in the Second Chamber elections, with names that are unknown for you. What is more, parties can place up to 80 candidates on just one list.Each party has its own number. This number is assigned by the central polling station based on the number of votes the party obtained during the previous Second Chamber elections. Thus the party that obtained most of the votes is number one, the subsequent party is number two etc. Parties that are participating for the first time or that have not gained a seat in the previous election will be assigned a number through a draw.

Also each candidate has an own number. This number is determined by the party. The higher the number of the candidate, the higher the chance for the candidate to be chosen. However, by casting a preference vote you can increase the probability for a particular candidate to be elected, even though the candidate has a lower place on the list.

Optionally, the polling station can give you an explanation about the ballot sheet at the polling outside the polling booth. However, you should just cast your vote by yourself. Only voters who need assistance due to physical disability can get help in the voting booth.

AT WHICH POLLING STATION CAN I VOTE?To make it easier for you, on March 15th, you can vote at any polling station on the island. To be able to vote, you should bring a voting pass and a proof of identification. Thus, you should not have to arrange anything to vote at another polling station. A polling station which is located near you is indicated on the voting pass. The public entity will inform you at the latest 4 days before the voting day concerning the location of other polling stations, the opening hours and if the polling station is accessible for voters with a physical disability. You can vote in the following polling stations:

Saba:

The Queen Wilhemina Library (The Bottom)

Eugenius Johnson Center (Windwardside)

Opening times: 7:30 am – 9:00 pm

WHAT DOES THE POLLING STATION LOOK LIKE?

Each polling station looks differently. In any case, there are a table at which the members of the polling station sit, and one or more polling booths. There are at least 3 and a maximum of 7 polling station members. The polling station will check your proof of identification and voting pass. Then you get a ballot sheet. You vote (alone) in the voting booth. The arrangement of the polling booths in the polling station should be in such manner that nobody can see whom you are voting on. Fold your ballot sheet, if you think that one can see whether you are voting on the left or the right side of the ballot sheet. The Elections Law does not allow curtains hanging in front of the voting booth. After voting, put the ballot sheet in the ballot box. This is provided with a lock. Campaigning at the polling station is not allowed.How to behave at the polling station:

Have your voting pass and proof of identification readyEnsure that the members of the polling station can see the voting boothKeep enough distance from the voting booth

How to behave at the voting booth:
You vote by yourself. You do not enter with more persons in the voting booth.You vote by coloring the white box in front of the candidate you choose for, with red. If you make a mistake, then ask for a new ballot sheet. You can only do this once. Fold your ballot sheet after filling it out, so that the list will not be visible. Throw the ballot sheet in the ballot box. You also follow the instructions of the members of the polling station.
CAN I VOTE BLANK?
Yes. You should not mark any of the red boxes nor make any other notes on the ballot sheet. You fold your blank ballot sheet and put it in the ballot box. You may not write on the ballot. If for example you would write: “I vote blank”, then your vote invalid. A blank vote will be counted in determining the turn-out, which is the number of people that came to the polling station to vote. A blank vote is not used in calculating the results and the electoral threshold. For this only the votes that were cast on the candidates will be counted. Casting a blank vote, as well as not voting or casting an invalid vote, has no influence on the distribution of seats. The claim that a vote not issued goes the biggest party is incorrect.WHEN IS MY VOTE IS REGARDED AS INVALID?

A vote is invalid if it was cast on a ballot sheet other than the ballot sheet that has been issued to you at the polling station. A vote is also invalid if you do not make clear on whom you cast your vote (for example because you have made multiple boxes red, or you just put an arrow pointing to the name of the candidate of your choice). Your vote is only valid if you mark the white dot in the voting box completely or partly red. Do not write further on the ballot sheet. You then run the risk that your identity can be traced back and which will therefore make your ballot sheet invalid.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I ACCIDENTALLY MADE MY VOTE INVALID?

If you accidentally made your ballot sheet invalid, or you made a mistake, you can request the polling station members only once for a new ballot sheet.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH MY VOTE?

By voting you determine, along with other voters, which parties will gain a seat in the Second Chamber. You exert influence on the decision-making of the Second Chamber for the coming four years. Thus you indirectly influence the composition of the government.

Proxy

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I CANNOT VOTE?If on the day of the election you cannot vote yourself, you can let someone else vote for you (give someone else a proxy):- by means of a written proxy- by means of a private proxy

Make use of this possibility only if you are not able to vote yourself. The Elections Law prohibits voters to grant a proxy in return for a bribe in the form of a gift or promise. The person that allows others to bribe him/her is punishable as well, based on the Elections Law. Written proxyYou can grant a written proxy to someone who resides within your own public entity when:- you know you will not be present on the day of the elections- you have not received your voting pass yet- or you do not have a proof of identification- your proof of identification has expired for more than five years If you want to use the written proxy, you must request one at your public entity no later than Friday, March 10th. Forms for a written proxy are available at your public entity. Both the signatures of you and the person you are authorizing to vote for you (your representative) should be on the form. If you choose to give a written proxy, you will not have to present a copy of your identification. Your voting pass will be sent directly to your representative. The person who is voting on your behalf (the person who holds the proxy) does not need to present a copy of your proof of identification at the polling station. Private proxyYou can grant a private proxy to someone who resides within your own public entity when: – you know that on election day you have no possibility to vote- you have already received your voting pass- you have a proof of identificationYou can give a private proxy by completing the form on the back of the voting pass you received and by signing it. By doing this you become the warrantor. The voter that will be voting for you is the representative. The representative should be living on the same public entity as you do! You should give to the representative your voting pass and (a copy of a) proof of your identification. This is necessary; otherwise your representative will not be allowed to cast your proxy vote for you!

Important:

Avoid misuse of your identification by requesting back the copy and/or by marking it as destined to use only for the proxy voting. The person who is voting on your behalf, can do so only when he or she is casting his/her vote. A representative is allowed to vote for a maximum of two other persons.Warning:

Give a power of attorney only if you are not able to vote yourself.The Electoral Law prohibits the bribe of voters, through gifts and promises, to give the Power of Attorney. Also the person who accepts bribery is prosecutable by the Electoral Law.

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One comment

  1. The Electorial process is the most democratic action,which allows every legible person the right and priviledge as constituents on the Dutch Caribbean islands, to exercise that franchise come Election day. The very political future of the islands depend on result of this electorial process, being carried out in a free,fair and free from fair manner.
    Best of all wishes to each candidate and their respective parties.
    May the peoples’ choice be a collective indication,based on reason,understanding and purpose by this consensus of opinion.

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