Netherlands Abandons Electronic Vote Counting Amid Hacking Fears

Dutch Election 2017
Dutch Campaign posters are seen in front of a windmill in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, March 1 2017. Elections in the country are to be conducted the old fashioned way. Michael Kooren/Reuters

Authorities in the Netherlands are to abandon electronic vote counting in favor of old fashioned methods following reports of foreign interference in other countries’ elections.

The country's general election on March 15 will instead be all-paper and all-manual, Politico reported.  

Electronic voting was banned in the country in 2007, but software has since been used to count votes electronically.

“I don’t want a shadow of doubt over the result in a political climate like the one we know today,” Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said. “I can imagine some party or professor somewhere will say there is a remaining risk that it was hacked… and that would keep haunting the election outcome.”

Both last year’s U.S. presidential election and the ongoing French presidential election have been marred by claims of interference from Russia or Russia-backed hackers.

Hacks targeting the U.S. Democratic party and the Hillary Clinton campaign led some to claim that Russia was seeking to influence the election outcome in favor of Donald Trump. Russia has always denied any such meddling.

Meanwhile, in France, the campaign of independent centrist Emmanuel Macron has claimed Russia is seeking to damage him. Again, Russia denies any interference in the French election.

Tensions are high between Russia and the Netherlands following a divisive referendum battle last year over whether the Dutch government should ratify an EU agreement with Ukraine.