Consultative referendum

The consultative referendum on the 2017 Intelligence and Security Services Act (Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten 2017, Wiv 2017) will take place in the Caribbean and European Netherlands on March 21st. 

By voting you will indicate whether you are in favour of or against the Wiv 2017, which has already been adopted by the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives.

Part of the 2017 Intelligence and Security Services Act already came into force on September 1st, 2017. This concerns articles 1, 32, first paragraph, 33, 34, 35, 97, first and second paragraph, 98, 99, 100, 101, 103, 104, 105, 106 and 170. The option under article 12 of the Consultative Referendum Act (Wet raadgevend referendum), which makes it possible to put (part of) the act into force in advance if it is a matter of urgency, was used for this purpose.

The referendum enables voters to speak out in favour of or against the act. The ballot paper will state the following question: “Are you in favour of or against the 2017 Intelligence and Security Services Act?“

2017 Intelligence and Security Services Act

Information about the content of the Wiv 2017 is available on the website of the Referendum Commission (in Dutch). The Referendum Commission is responsible for providing information to voters about laws which are the subject of a referendum.

In the Caribbean Netherlands, the text of the act will be made available for inspection at the administration offices of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. There you may inspect the text of the act. However, should you be unable or choose not to use this opportunity, you can obtain a printed copy of the text of the act free of charge from the administration office of the local government.

Result

The referendum is valid if at least thirty percent of the total number of electors has cast a valid vote (in favour, against or blank).

Follow-up

If the referendum is valid and the majority of the voters has voted in favour, the government may put the remaining articles of the act into force. If the majority of the voters is against the act, the result will count as a consultative statement for rejection of the act. In that case the government should decide as soon as possible whether it will present a bill to repeal the act and notify the Senate and House of Representatives of its decision as soon as possible.

Who is allowed to vote?

Any Dutch citizen aged 18 and over who has not been deprived of the right to vote, is allowed to vote. If you are entitled to vote, your public entity will automatically send you a poll card, which is your invitation to cast your vote. If you have not yet received a poll card two weeks prior to the day of the vote (March 21st, 2018), please contact the Census Office (afdeling Burgerzaken). 

Where and when can you vote?

You can vote on March 21st from 07:30 hours to 21:00 hours in any polling station of your public entity. 

Polling stations in the public entities of the Caribbean Netherlands:

Bonaire

  1. Jong Bonaire
  2. Sentro di bario  Tera Cora
  3. Sentro di bario Nikiboko
  4. Plasa Francisco (Chico) Goeloe in Entrejol
  5. Sentro di bario Nort Saliña
  6. Tia Sani, Rincon

 St. Eustatius
Mike van Putten Youth Center (known as Lions Den).

Saba
The Sunny Valley Youth Center.

What do you need to be able to vote?

In order to be able to vote, you should bring your poll card and a valid ID. This can be either a Dutch passport, identity card or driving licence. Without a poll card and valid ID you will not be allowed to vote! Your ID should not be expired over five years, or in other words it should be valid until at least March 22nd, 2013. If your ID expired over five years ago, you should apply for a new ID at the Census Office as soon as possible, since it will take some time before you can collect your requested document. 

What should you do if you do not or no longer have a poll card?

Everyone who is entitled to vote will receive a poll card at their home address. You did not receive a poll card? You lost it? Or it got destroyed? Then you should apply for a replacement poll card as soon as possible. You can do this in writing no later than Friday, March 16th, 2018, in person at the Census Office no later than Tuesday, March 20th at 12:00 hours, on presentation of a valid ID.

Proxy

If you are unable to vote yourself: give a proxy.
You can apply for a written proxy at the Census Office, no later than March 16th, 2018. They have a form for this purpose. 
You may use the back of your poll card for a private proxy. Apart from the poll card you should also give the person who will cast your vote, a copy of your ID. 
You are in the European Netherlands on March 21st, 2018 and you want to vote? Then you should apply for a voter card at the Census Office. You can do this in writing no later than March 16th, 2018 and verbally no later than March 20th, 2018 12:00 hours. With a voter card you can cast your vote at any polling station.
You are temporarily abroad, for example for holiday or studies and you want to vote yourself? You can do this by letter. In that case you should have registered with the mayor of The Hague as a “postal voter” by February 21st, 2018 at the latest. You can register via Dutch voters abroad.

How can you cast your vote?

You cast your vote by means of a ballot paper and a red pencil. You will receive the ballot paper from the polling officials at the polling station. The ballot paper will state the following question: Are you in favour of or against the 2017 Intelligence and Security Services Act?. You cast your vote by (partially) colouring the white dot next to the box “In favour” or the box “Against” red. You may also decide not to colour anything, which means that you cast a blank vote. Do not write anything else on your ballot paper, it could invalidate your vote. Should you have invalidated your ballot paper accidentally, then you may request a new ballot paper from one of the polling officials in the polling station only once. 

The vote shall be taken by secret ballot. The voting booths in the polling stations should be arranged in such a way that no one can see what you are voting. Only persons with a physical disability may receive assistance in the voting booth. All other voters should cast their vote alone. After you have selected your choice, you will fold the ballot paper in such a way that your choice is not visible and subsequently insert it in the ballot box.

After the vote

The ballot boxes will close at 21:00 hours. The polling stations will remain open because voters are allowed to be present during the counting of votes by the polling officials. They are however not allowed to help with the counting.

After the votes have been counted, the president of the polling station will inform those present of the number of votes which are “in favour”, “against” “blank” and “invalid”. An official report will subsequently be drawn up and the polling station's session will be closed. 

The Governor will then add the counts of all polling stations of the public entity together and send this to the main polling station on Bonaire. The main polling station will establish the total of the number of votes “in favour”, “against”, “blank” and “invalid” cast on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba at a public session on Friday, March 23rd at 10:00 hours. This number will be notified to the central electoral committee (Electoral Council). The Electoral Council will determine the result of the referendum for the whole of the Netherlands as soon possible at a public session.