Netherlands: Lessons Learned

Netherlands Case Study

Last updated on December 17, 2013

  • The Dutch legal framework was inadequate to effectively regulate the development and use of voting machines, especially regarding security safeguards, the certification process and tabulation software.
  • In the absence of a strong regulatory framework, suppliers failed to update technology in line with modern security requirements, making the voting machines vulnerable to internal and external security threats, as well as criticism.
  • The MOIKR lacked the technical expertise necessary to fulfill its responsibility to oversee the conduct of elections, and as a result, suppliers had too much control over the process.
  • Civil society, media and independent IT experts were absent from the decision making process on voting machines, and virtually no transparency mechanisms were provided at any stage in the process.
  • The ministry ignored signs on several occasions that there were problems with the voting machines, including when problems were discovered with similar machines in Ireland and when the Electoral Council raised issues.
  • Political parties and other stakeholders did not pay adequate attention to the integrity and security of the voting system, as they had a very high degree of trust in it, as well as in the election authorities.
  • With only a few people involved in the effort, “We do not Trust Voting Computers” mounted an extremely effective advocacy campaign using freedom of information legislation and the media. This demonstrates that, in some contexts, civil society activists and other oversight actors can have significant influence if they engage actively, are well-informed, and provide credible, well-supported arguments.
  • The Voting Machines Decision-making Commission and the Election Process Advisory Commission provided an objective, prompt review of the election process, which, based on the above lessons learned, should have been conducted much earlier.


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