Even though the parliamentary elections in Holland are tomorrow, I cast my vote today through the internet. I posted earlier, that I had applied to vote from abroad through the internet. This was the first time this option was available (before you could only vote by sending you ballot back by snail mail), though I believe there was some sort of experiment two years ago.
To be able to vote, I was supposed to receive the necessary instructions and a unique code by mail. Regular, old-fashioned mail that is, not email. I was not very surprised when I never received these papers; I kind of expected this would happen as I have experience with mail not arriving in Armenia. Last week I received an email saying that if I hadn’t received the papers yet, I had to fill in an attached form and return it by email so I could get a replacement code. So I did and promptly received a reply that my renewed request had been accepted. I didn’t hear anything else until yesterday morning when I find an email saying that the people from the help desk had been trying to get in touch with me by phone, but that they had not succeeded. I replied and gave them again my mobile phone number and my phone number at work.
This morning I found two emails from the help desk saying they had tried again, but that once they didn’t get through and once the phone was answered by someone who didn’t speak English or Dutch. Hmmm, misconnected – something that happens more often, also when calling inside Armenia. Again I replied and told them when I would be at work. Less than an hour later, the phone at work rings and yes, it is someone from the help desk to give me my unique code. After having to state some data from my passport, the woman gave me the code.
Once home, I voted. The procedure itself was secure and fairly easy. The instructions that I had received by email were very clear with many screen-prints to explain the procedure.
All in all, a positive experience, though sending the unique code by snail mail is not advisable to countries where the mailservice is not reliable. And last but not least: my compliments to the people at the help desk for all the effort they made to get in touch with me!
Update November 27: I just came from the post office where I picked up the voting papers that were originally sent to me by regular mail. Truth be told, my neighbors told me last Wednesday already that the mailman had tried to deliver a letter at my door when I wasn’t home. The stamp on the envelope told me that the letter had been in the country at least since November 14…