Anyone that does not vote on 26 May does not have to be afraid of a fine, because the lists of absentees are never sent to the public prosecutor’s offices. In the most recent municipal elections, 358,896 (7.4%) of the almost 4.9 million people who were obliged to vote, did not do so. The absentees break the law and risk a fine of 40 to 80 euros. Repeat offenders even risk a fine of up to 200 euros. People who consistently (four times in 15 years) refuse to vote, will be punished with a ban on voting.
However, the sanctions are never carried out. “The presidents of the polling stations send the lists of absent voters to the justice of the peace. They keep them for six months and then destroy them according to the guidelines of the state archivist,” the Federal government department for Justice explained to Het Laatste Nieuws.
“The lists of absent voters are therefore not submitted to the public prosecutors’ offices. Within the Public Prosecution Service the directive applies to prosecute only the absent presidents and co-presidents of the voting and counting offices,” he added.