On March 16 the municipal elections take place. On this day, the citizens of Eindhoven can decide what kind of city they want to live, by voting for the city council of Eindhoven. What are the rights of international residents in this election?
What not many people know, however, is that not only Dutch citizens are allowed to vote. Many non-Dutch residents are also allowed to cast their votes. But why is it important to vote? What does the city council do? And how do the elections work exactly? In the series ‘Eindhoven Elections: your vote counts’ you get to know how all this works.
During my work as a social designer and city council member for GroenLinks Eindhoven, I have met many international citizens with ideas for the city of Eindhoven. For example students with solutions to tackle the housing issues, residents with ideas to facilitate social contact between different cultures and expat spouses with suggestions to improve the education for their children. Furthermore, Eindhoven has many wonderful initiatives by the international community, such as Meerhoven International Platform, Parktheater International, C.L.O., The Wall, Indigowereld and so on.
That is why I find it important that the international citizens of Eindhoven can share their voices. One important way to do so is to vote in the municipal elections. However, I noticed that not everyone seems to be aware that they are allowed to vote. In this article, I’ll explain what are the prerequisites for voting in the municipal elections.
Of course, if you have an EU passport, you have the right to vote for the local elections. If you are a non-EU citizen, then you are allowed to vote if you have been living in The Netherlands legally (that means: with a residence permit) for over five consecutive years. In both cases, you have to be 18 years or older and be registered as a resident in Eindhoven. In case you are not registered as a citizen of Eindhoven yet, you can register yourself here. The deadline for doing this is January 31.
Note: you don’t need to specifically register to vote. If you meet the above-mentioned requirements, you are automatically registered to vote. At least two weeks before the elections, you will receive a personal voting pass in your mailbox.
When do the elections take place?
Every four years, the municipal elections take place. The next elections are on Wednesday the 16th of March. Normally, the elections only take place on one day. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, early voting is possible this year. This means that if it feels safer for you to vote at a quieter moment, you are also able to cast your vote on the 14th and 15th of March.
But why is it important to vote for the municipal elections? In the next article of the Eindhoven elections series, I will explain more about what the city council decides upon!
Eva de Bruijn (25), social designer and city council member for GroenLinks in Eindhoven