The States-Provincial form the parliament of the province and also elect the members of the Upper House. The water authorities regulate how public money – i.e. your taxes – is spent to keep feet dry and water clean. Your vote therefore influences how and by whom the Netherlands is run.
Who can vote?
Whether you are eligible to vote in one or both elections is determined by various factors. For both the elections for the States-Provincial and the elections for the water authorities, the following conditions apply:
- you must be 18 years or older on 18 March 2015
- you must be registered with the civil registry (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP) as a resident of one of the Dutch provinces. The reference date for this is 2 February – the day the candidates are announced
- your electoral rights must not have been withdrawn
In addition, the following applies:
- to be eligible to vote for the States-Provincial, you must be a citizen of the Netherlands
- non-Dutch citizens may vote in the water authorities elections if they are either EU nationals or have a valid Dutch residence permit
Voting pass and passport/ID
Please note that you must present your voting pass (stempas) and a valid proof of identity at the polling station in order to be able to vote.
If you haven’t received your voting pass or you have lost it, you can apply for a new pass in person at the civil affairs department (burgerzaken) of one of the city district offices until noon on 17 March 2015. Please bring your passport or ID. You can also submit a written application either to the civil registry or at one of the district offices. The application will have to have been received on 13 March at the latest.
Valid proof of identity
You must bring a valid proof of identity when you go to vote on 18 March. The document must not be older than five years. Valid proofs of identity are: passport; identity card; driving licence issued in the Netherlands, another EU-country or Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or Iceland; or a Dutch residence permit.
No valid proof of identity?
If you cannot show a valid proof of identity, there are two ways in which you can still vote:
1. You can submit a written request for authorisation – this way, someone else can vote for you without needing your proof of identity on the day. The request has to have been received by 13 March 2015.
2. If your proof of identity has been stolen or lost, you have to report this to the police. At the polling station, present a copy of the police report (in case of theft) or a document called Verklaring vermissing/onregelmatigheid reisdocument of rijbewijs (a statement regarding the loss of your document), also available at the police station, in combination with another document showing your full name and a passport photo (for example a personalised public transport chip card). This option is meant for those who can’t apply for a new document in time for the elections.
Where can you vote?
With your voting pass you are qualified to vote anywhere in Amsterdam. The pass lists a polling station in your neighbourhood, but you can also choose to vote in any other polling station in Amsterdam (in the States-Provincial elections) and/or in your own regional water authority area within Amsterdam (in the water authorities elections).
Voting outside of Amsterdam
It is also possible to vote in another municipality. In order to do so you must apply for a kiezerspas. This is a pass that enables you to vote in all of North-Holland (for the States-Provincial elections) or in all of your regional water authority area (for the water authorities elections).
There are two ways to apply for a kiezerspas:
- Download the application form at www.amsterdam.nl/verkiezingen (in Dutch) or pick up a copy at a district office. The completed form must have been received by the civil registry or handed in at one of the city district offices by 13 March 2015
- Apply in person at the civil affairs department (burgerzaken) of one of the city district offices. You can apply at any district office until noon on 17 March. Please note that you have to bring our voting pass (if received) and a valid proof of identity
The polling stations will be open from 7:30 to 21:00. At some locations (for instance those in or near train stations), different opening times apply. You can find an overview of all polling stations at www.amsterdam.nl/verkiezingen (in Dutch).
Authorising someone else to vote for you
If you are unable to vote, you can authorise another voter to vote for you with an official authorisation (volmacht). There are two types of authorisation: the onderhandse volmacht and a written authorisation that you need to apply for in advance.
You can only use this form of authorisation if the person to vote in your name also can and will vote in Amsterdam and/or in the same water board region as yours. You don’t need to apply for this form of authorisation in advance: simply fill in the authorisation form on the back of your voting pass or kiezerspas and hand this, together with (a copy of) your proof of identity to the person you’re authorising. This can be done up until right before voting, on 18 March 2015.
Authorisation with advance application
This form of authorisation can also be used when the authorised person is voting outside of Amsterdam. If you apply for an authorisation in writing, the person you want to authorise is sent a separate form of authorisation. You can use this form of authorisation if you don’t have proof of identity. Download the application form at www.amsterdam.nl/verkiezingen (in Dutch) or pick up a copy at a district office. The completed form must have been received by the civil registry or handed in at one of the city district offices by 13 March 2015.
Important information for the authorised person
- The person that votes for you has to cast both votes at the same time. They cannot go voting twice or vote at two different polling stations. It is therefore important that you and the person you have authorised are eligible for voting in the same polling station and for the same elections. Please note that Amsterdam is located in the territories of three different water authorities, so it is important to ensure both you and the authorised person are eligible for voting in the same water authorities elections.
- You are not allowed to vote for more than two other people per election.
Information for blind and visually impaired people
If you know anyone that’s blind or visually impaired, inform them of the above and please let them know that the Oogvereniging Amsterdam, an association for the blind and visually impaired, provides spoken lists of the candidates. The Oogvereniging Amsterdam can be reached per email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone, at 020-613 0619.
Download a brochure containing more information on the water authorities elections. A voters' compass in English can be found here. And you can find more information about the elections and voting in Amsterdam:
- online at www.amsterdam.nl/verkiezingen (in Dutch)
- on Twitter at @AmsterdamNL, #020stemt
- via telephone at 14 020, the general information service of the municipality Amsterdam, available on weekdays from 08:00 to 18:00