Tuesday, 25 November 2008
A couple of weeks ago we received voting forms in the post for the waterschapverkiezingen 2008 (district water board elections 2008).
To some people this may sound like an odd thing to have an election for, but it's quite important here.
The water board runs a lot of things in the countryside. There are thousands of kilometres of dykes here, rural cycle paths also are largely run by the water board, and of course much of the natural landscape that we enjoy cycling through belongs to them. They are responsible for control of water level in the countryside, not water supply to homes. Wikipedia has more about this.
The voting process is quite different to what we're used to. The election is for individuals and is a form of proportional representative, so every vote counts. This is markedly different to what we were used to in the UK. Never has a single vote of mine helped anyone get into power because my votes were swamped due to the effect of the "first past the post" electoral system. This is probably the first time in my life that my vote has had any significance.
This is a better form of democracy. A more democratic form of democracy.
The last date to vote was today, but my form went back into the post very soon after it arrived.