Nearly 13 million eligible voters on 15 March

On 15 March 2017, 12.9 million Dutch residents may go to the polls, while over 70 thousand Dutch expatriates will also be entitled to take part in the general elections, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports.
Nearly all Dutch citizens aged 18 and over are entitled to vote in the upcoming national elections for the House of Representatives. The number of electors this year exceeds that of 2012 by over 300 thousand. Approximately 850 thousand young people have voting rights for the first time as they were under 18 at the time of the previous elections on 12 September 2012.

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 suffrage

This 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 voting

Prior 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.

Electorate by municipality

On 1 March 2017, the Netherlands will have 2 percent more electors than in the 2012 elections. Voter population developments vary per municipality and range from a decline of 3 percent to an increase of 10 percent. The voter population has declined in the upper northeastern and lower southwestern parts of the country in particular.