Netherlands: Ballots will counted by hand to avoid cyber foul play

Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) leads polls

According to a Dutch Minister, authorities will count by hand all the votes cast in next month’s general elections, in order to avoid the possibility of a cyber attack.

Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said in a letter to parliament on Wednesday that he can not rule out that state actors may try to benefit from influencing political decisions and public opinion in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands will kicks off a year of crucial elections in Europe on 15 March.

Dutch officials are already on alert for signs of possible cyber hacking following allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russia may have meddled in November’s US presidential polls to help secure Donald Trump’s victory.

Therefore it has been decided to calculate the results based on a manual count.

12.5 million Dutch citizens will vote for the 150-seat lower house of parliament and around 31 parties have so far registered.

The Conservative MP, Geert Wilders, and his Freedom Party (PVV) have been leading the opinion polls for months, leaving prime minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal party (VVD) in second place.