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11/1 Jurists want to stay in Oudemanhuispoort

8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

1/2 Rotterdam to tinker with district councils as well

31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

31/1 ZeeburgTV launched

27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

27/1 Chrisis in de Baarsjes

26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

23/1 KLM takes on crisis with new uniform

23/1 District office not squatted

21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Choose your own polling station

27 July 2006 – At the next elections, Amsterdammers can almost certainly choose at which polling station they cast their vote, according to Rob Norbart of the Elections Office. Incidentally, no official decision has yet been taken as to the date of the elections.

Next fall, Amsterdammers will probably receive an election pass, which allows them to vote at any polling station within the municipality. Perhaps it will also be possible to vote at alternative locations, such as supermarkets. The districts will have to take the initiative to make this possible.

Since recently, municipalities have the possibility to let their residents choose where they vote. At the municipal elections of last March, 239 municipalities offered their citizens this choice.

According to an evaluation, turnout in these municipalities rose by 1.8% more than in other municipalities. Whether this was caused by increased freedom of choice is uncertain. It is also conceivable that turnout rose due to more intensive voter education in these municipalities. The evaluation further showed that the new system is more vulnerable where it regards the personal data on the passes and their distribution.

In March, each polling station in Amsterdam had two voting machines; in November, there will only be one. The reason is that there are often multiple polling stations at the same location. With the new voting pass, voters can easily switch to a quieter polling station.

A disadvantage of the new system is that people will not be able to vote if they discover on Election Day that they have lost their voting pass. Requests for duplicates can only be made until a few days before the election.

Voting with a passport instead of the voting pass will not be possible, because otherwise people could vote more than once at different locations.

Amsterdam will launch a campaign to make sure that people know about the voting pass. It is not known yet whether citizens will be offered the possibility to practice on voting machines. This also depends on whether districts can manage to organise this.

“Prior to the municipal elections it was possible to practice at various locations, such as old people’s homes. Perhaps this will now only be possible at the district offices. Incidentally, practicing is not as urgent now, because people have recently voted with voting machines”, says Norbart of the Elections Office.

Research has found that the possibility to practice on a voting machine may help some to actually cast their vote. This applies especially to groups with low turnout, such as young people and the low-educated.

Amsterdam was one of the last municipalities to switch to the voting machine. Recently, the ‘We don’t trust voting machines’ campaign was started to promote a return to the voting pencil, but such a step is not considered for the 22 November elections.

Further, there are no officially approved voting machines available with open source software and paper trails. These would make the voting process more transparent.

In October or November, training will be given to the volunteers who will be serving on the polling committees. Not only the procedures regarding the voting pass will be discussed, but also to what extent people may be assisted in casting their vote.

In March, there were complaints, mainly in the Bos en Lommer district, about assistance given to voters. Helping voters might improperly affect their voting behaviour. The Ombudsman has initiated an investigation into these complaints, which will be published next month.

Incidentally, no formal decision has been taken on the date of the election, Norbart says, although everybody assumes that it will be 22 November. “We are already receiving official documents from Procura with the date of 22 November”. Procura is the company that supplies voting passes among other things.


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