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The 2014 State of Dutch Lower Saxony Constitutional Referendum was a referendum held in the Saxonian State of Dutch Lower Saxony to determine whether the King of Dutch Lower Saxony should be removed from being the Head of the State and that instead a Governour for Saxony, who would be elected, should be put in place. It took place on 12 May 2014, after it was sanctioned to take place by the Legislature of Dutch Lower Saxony on 12 August 2013. The referendum question was: "Should the King of the State of Dutch Lower Saxony be replaced with a Governour of the State of Dutch Lower Saxony?"
Dutch Lower Saxon Confederate Membership
The nation of Saxony in its current form was formed only in 1817, approximately 5 years after the independence of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The State of Dutch Lower Saxony, at that time consisting of the lordships of Frisia, Groningen, Overijssel, the Duchy of Guelders, and the Free Lands of Drenthe. These were then put under the control of the King of the Netherlands after the Dutch independence of 1812, and subsequently decided to become part of the nation of Saxony before the signing of the Treaty of Hamburg.
However, it was decided that Dutch Lower Saxony would retain its King, the King of Dutch Lower Saxony, who de facto was the King of the Netherlands. This was unlike the other states of the federation, since Dutch Lower Saxony would not get assigned a governor and would instead remain a monarchy within a federation within a confederation, meaning that in a nation with elected leaders, this leader would be unelected and instead be hereditary.
Neerlaands-Neersassen teagn Organisasie teagn de Neerlaandse Monargie
Calls for a referendum
Date and eligibility
The referendum took place on 12 May 2014, as was sanctioned to be so by the Legislature of Dutch Lower Saxony on 12 August 2013. Voting booths opened at 8:00 and closed at 22:30. There was one voting booth for every 2,000 inhabitants on average, thus a total of 1542 spread across the State.
The minimum age to be allowed to vote was placed at 16. People convicted of federal, national or state crimes deservant of the death penalty, prisoners convicted of any form(s) of violence, mentally incapable people, and severe psychiatric patients were not allowed to vote.
In order to be able to vote, one had to have either Dutch ethnicity or be a permanent (more than 6 months a year) resident of Dutch Lower Saxony. Dutch ethnics living outside of Dutch Lower Saxony but within the Seafaring Confederation were allowed to vote by mail; Dutch ethnics outside of the Seafaring Confederation were not allowed to vote.
The question of the referendum was: "Should the King of the State of Dutch Lower Saxony be replaced with a Governour of the State of Dutch Lower Saxony?" This question was asked in Dutch, Dutch Low Saxon, West Frisian and German.
The question in Dutch was: "Moet de Koning(in) des Staats Nederlands Nedersaksens vervangen worden door een Gouverneur van de Staat Nederlands Nedersaksen?"
The question in Dutch Low Saxon depended on the local version of the language and was thus provided in 10 different versions. The local dialect with the most speakers and that thus appeared the most as a question was Tweants with: "Mött n/de König(inne) va'n Stoat Neerlaands Neersassen vervangn wörn deur nen Goevernöar veur n Stoat Neerlaands Nedersassen?"
The question in West Frisian was: "Moat de Kening(inne) fan de Steat Nederlândsk Nedersaksen ferfange wurde troch in Gûverneur foar de Steat Nederlândsk Nedersaksen?"
The question in German was: "Sollte der/die König(in) des Staats Niederländischen Niedersachsens ersetzt werden durch eine(n) Gouverneur(in) des Staats Niederländischen Niedersachsens?"
There were 4 possible answers: "Yes" (Ja, Joa, Ja, Ja), "No" (Nee, Nea, Nee, Nein), "Both King and Governour" (Zowel Koning(in) als Gouverneur, Zoo wal König(inne) as Goevernöar, Sawol Kening(inne) as Gûverneur, Sowohl ein(e) König(in) und ein(e) Gouverneur(in)) and "Neither" (Geen van beide, Gean van de twea, Gjin fan beide, Keine(n) von beiden).
It was also possible to vote blank or abstain: in order to vote blank, one had to enter a blanco ballot paper. This ballot paper would then be added included in the total turnout numbers, but would not be counted as a vote towards any particular answer. In order to abstain, one had to fill in two or more of the possible answers. The votes for the answers would be redirected towards the chosen answers, but would only count as a 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 vote, depending on the number of options filled in.