The Dutch government will this year test the possibilities of voting via the Internet. The test will include citizens abroad: the pilot, by the Ministry of the Interior, will involve the city of The Hague, which manages the registration of citizens abroad.
The city recently invited citizens to take part in the tests - a simulated election. Participants will be able to vote for fictitious political parties and candidates. The pilot is intended to test security measures, and to check if Internet voting reliable.
In the Netherlands, political parties have repeatedly asked to make it easier for citizens abroad to take part in elections. There are some 700,000 citizens living abroad that are eligible to vote. According to a 2013 press release, only 35,000 of these vote in elections, sending paper ballots to a mail address in The Hague.
The Internet voting pilot will take place just ahead of real elections for the Parliament’s Lower House, on 15 March.
The Dutch Electoral Council announced the pilot in May 2015. The council explained that the test would make an inventory of the security requirements related to voters, and get voters to give their opinion on these measures.
According to an online poll in 2009, 30 % of voters want to vote via the Internet, with another 18 % in favour if they can be sure it is safe, the European Parliament said at the time. A majority of 52 % still prefers the trip to the polling booth, the EP noted.