First-year students disappointed in the results of the recent election for the provincial council and water board will get support.
And that is badly needed, as the student psychologists found. ‘It started on the actual election day,’ says social worker Inge van de Laan. ‘The first student turned up at eight thirty in the morning. He was disappointed with his choice, and basically with the whole process.’
Anna (Health & Society) also felt let down. ‘I had prepared really thoroughly. I watched all the election debates and did the voting app questionnaire. I thought that Jesse Klaver had a nice green profile, but he wasn’t even on the list. Things like that don’t exactly help bridge the gap between politicians and ordinary people. Also, why are you forced to use a red pencil when you want to vote for a green party?’
Thierry (Agrotechnology) thinks he was swindled. ‘I voted BBB. I saw all these signs in the fields saying BBBetter. I have a bbbit of a stammer myself so I thought that would be a decent party. Plus they want to help the countryside. Bbbut it turns out they’re not quite what I thought. Stupid of me really — I should have known bbbetter.’
Van de Laan says she has seen many similar cases. ‘Mainly young people who are voting for the first time. And for two things at once, when they already have so many choices to make. The system is also impossible to explain. You vote for the Provincial Council, which somehow affects the Upper House of Parliament, even though you can’t vote for those members directly. What’s democratic about that?
Jesse (Forest & Nature Conservation) had been excited about the election. ‘It’s a kind of exam, multiple choice, which is my strong point. But there were so many options! And I was only allowed to colour in one square. So I coloured in all the squares except for one, which comes down to the same thing. Turns out that’s not allowed. A real bummer. Now my vote won’t count. I’m never going to vote again. No wonder young people are rejecting politics.’
On Monday, there will be a lunchtime meeting in Impulse for all the disappointed students. ‘People need to share their story,’ says Van de Laan. ‘That’s the key thing now. ‘Then we can look at how to process this going forward. Perhaps WUR can give voting advice to prevent such disappointments. Oh… and there will also be bread rolls.’