Category Archives: Your rights

Elections and voting – the Dutch way

The world is hearing everything about the America elections. Of course, very important as there are many Americans in the Americas, and America is still seen as one of the most important and influential countries in the world. Their voting system is weird though.

You have to register to vote. Instead of having the obligation to go vote because it is your duty as a proper citizen. Then there are Republican people there who try to limit decide who is allowed to vote by trying to exclude all kinds of groups who probably won’t vote republican. (Does not sound very much in favour of the Republic for which they claim to stand.)

Let me show you how it works in the Netherlands, one of the far less important countries in the world compared to the Americas. However, the Americas might still learn something from us.

When you live here as a registered citizen (meaning that you are legally allowed to live here, income and an address), you get a voter’s pass in your mailbox:

Voter’s pass-yay Mr. Blurrycam

This is not some silly reminder that there are going to be elections. It is a summoning to  vote. In other words: you are supposed to go, as in “you have to“. You’re not being excluded because the liberals don’t like the colour of your skin, or some other dweeb thinks you are not sensible enough to vote for them. If you choose not to vote, that’s your own stupid decision, but then don’t come whining when the new government is not what you want it to be: you had your chance and let it slip. (Usually they are not what you want even if you voted, but that’s politics, not voting. Whining, by the way, makes no difference.)

Can’t go to a voting bureau on the designated date? No problem. On the back of the voter’s pass there is a space where you can appoint someone to vote for you. The appointed voter takes your and their own voter’s pass, and their passport or other ID and does the voting. If you go yourself, you take your voter’s pass and your own ID.

Overview of candidates

You also receive an overview of candidates to vote for. This may look like many candidates but don’t worry: on the picture you barely see half of them (there are more on the back).

Instructions.

On the back of the list with candidates there is also a description on how the voting process goes, and it contains an overview of the places where you can go to vote in your town or city. Even in a small town like Cuijk where I live, there are 15 voting bureaus, and they are open from 7:30 in the morning until 9 in the evening.

I understand that this kind of voting is different from that in the Americas as we don’t vote for a president (we have a Queen). We elect the government / senate / congress / parliament, take your pick of preferred name for it. The idea however should be clear. (We’re doing it better. :p )

Belo Monte dam construction halted by Brazilian court

‘A Great Victory’: Controversial Brazilian Dam Construction Halted

Brazilian Federal court finds Belo Monte hydro-electric dam licenses invalid, indigenous peoples were not consulted

A victory came to activists in Brazil on Tuesday when a federal judge halted construction on the controversial Belo Monte dam in the Amazon, saying that the indigenous peoples had not been consulted.

The impacts of the dam, which would have been the third largest hydro-electric dam in the world, had long been slammed by indigenous groups and environmental activists who said that it would have displaced thousands and wreaked havoc upon the ecosystem while contributing to greenhouse gases.

When the Brazilian Congress gave approval for the dam in 2005, there were no consultations with the indigenous peoples about the environmental impacts, a fact that Judge Souza Prudente found in violation of the Brazilian Constitution.

“A study on the environmental impact of the project was required before, not after, work on the dam started. The legislation is flawed,” Judge Souza Prudente told O Globo newspaper.

“The Brazilian Congress must take into account the decisions taken by the indigenous communities. Legislators can only give the go-ahead if the indigenous communities agree with the project,” he said.

Souza Prudente remarked at a press conference that “only in a dictatorial regime does a government approve a project before holding consultations.”

Indigenous groups lauded the court ruling. “It’s a historic decision for the country and for the native communities,” said Antonia Melo, coordinator of the Xingu Vivo indigenous movement.

“It’s a great victory which shows that Belo Monte is not a done deal. We are very happy and satisfied.”

Zachary Hurwitz of International Rivers writes that “the decision supports the arguments that the affected tribes have been making over the lifetime of Belo Monte: tribes will face downstream livelihood impacts as a result of a reduction in the flow of the Xingu River on the 100-km stretch known as the Volta Grande or ‘Big Bend,’ and were never properly consulted, much less gave their consent.”

Hurwitz adds that the economic rationale dam proponents pushed is fundamentally flawed. “Economic rationale for the dam is based on a projected economic growth of 5% or more a year, but over the past few quarters, GDP has been lucky to grow at even a measly rate. As far as Belo Monte’s importance to Brazil’s economic race, this is really a case of the horse following the wagon.”

“And, as illustrated by this historic court decision, the wagon has been trampling on indigenous people and their rights, along the way,” writes Hurwitz.
SOURCE – via White Wolf.