Aside from the eligible voters in the Netherlands, Dutch citizens living abroad are also included in the electorate. They must be registered for the elections at the municipality of The Hague. This year, over 75 thousand have completed this registration (provisional data provided by the municipality of The Hague), up from 48 thousand who registered in 2012. In 2011, almost half a million Dutch people born in the Netherlands were living in another member state of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association, while several hundred thousand native Dutch people were living in other countries.
100 Years universal suffrageThis year marks the 100th anniversary of universal suffrage in the Netherlands. Constitutional reforms in 1917 introduced common suffrage to all male residents aged 25 and over. Two years later, the right to vote was also granted to women, who started taking part in elections in 1922. After the Second World War, the voting age was lowered to 23 years in 1965 and subsequently to 18 years in 1972.
Very few excluded from votingPrior to 1917, the right to vote in parliamentary elections was restricted to men aged 25 and over who paid a certain threshold amount in direct taxes or otherwise met particular income criteria. The income test disappeared in 1917 but was replaced by other conditions based upon which a person could be excluded from voting rights, such as mental illness, begging, loss of parental authority, a severe imprisonment sentence or multiple court convictions. After the Second World War, this was extended to political prisoners and those who had been in foreign (mostly German) military service.
In 1983, grounds for exclusion were limited to a number of serious offences which could pose a severe threat to national security. Since then, prisoners have been entitled to vote by proxy. In 2008, voting rights were further granted to persons under legal restraint due to incapacity. At the beginning of 2016, altogether 56 persons were deprived of the right to vote due to the seriousness of the crimes they had committed.