Voter trust in the Netherlands between 2006 and 2010

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Leontine Loeber
University of Leiden

Abstract: In this paper the trust of Dutch voters in the election process is examined. Since the Parliamentary elections of November 2006, large changes have surrounded the Dutch election process. The widely used voting machines that were introduced in the Netherlands in 1966 were decertified in 2007, causing a return to paper ballot voting. Discussions took place both in the media and in Parliament on election technologies and the trustworthiness of the election process. However, based on survey data of the last two Dutch elections, these discussions so far have not significantly influenced the trust of voters in the election process. Furthermore, more voters still prefer the use of voting machines and feel that these machines are trustworthier than paper ballots. The presence of a ‘winner-loser’ effect on trust in the election process is not found for the Netherlands. In the meantime, some demographic variables are found that influence the trust in the election process. In the Netherlands, male voters have slightly higher levels of trust than female voters. Young voters are more trusting than older voters. Higher educated voters and voters with a higher personal income level show higher levels of trust. Voters who attend religious services on a regular basis also have higher levels of trust in the election process. However, the influence of these demographic factors is not very large. Further research will be necessary to develop a more accurately prediction model for Dutch voter trust.

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