Low voter turnout in Rotterdam elections leads to calls for sortition

Submitted by webmaster on Tue, 20-09-2022 - 17:16

In this year's municipal elections, voter turnout was at a historic low in the city of Rotterdam, at only 38.9 percent. In the Netherlands, voting does not require registration; citizens already have their records in the municipality's database, and automatically get a poll card in the mail. The address of the nearest polling station is on the card, but voters can choose any polling station they like - within their municipality. Polling stations are open from 7.30 a.m. to 9.00 p.m..

Due to the especially low voter turnout in their city, Amina Hiba and Lot Mertens decided to start the first Dutch podcast exclusively focussed on sortition: Sexy Lotto. In their podcast introduction, they state that they will investigate lottery as an alternative to elections. Until now, they've produced three episodes.

In the first episode of the podcast, Hiba and Mertens talk with public administration student Jelrik Westra. Shortly after the election, Westra claimed in the online magazine Vers Beton (New Concrete) that the city council does no longer have the right to speak on behalf of the citizens of Rotterdam. Therefore, he called for a citizens' assembly, or in fact maybe several of them for different topics.