At 27.6%, the election turnout was almost the same as the percentage last year (27.9%), but lower than previous years (35.4% in 2019, 38.1% in 2018 and 44.2% in 2017). A disappointment to both Oras and Lijst Bèta. “After such an intense campaign, you would expect more students to vote,” says Job Vlak (Oras).
Neutral voting days
The current Chair of the Student Council blames the low turnout on three points. “First of all, the campus was partly closed because of the corona crisis. Students are now mostly online, but the campaign was largely run on campus. The elections pass you by easily online.”
If you do not remind students about the elections, they forget to vote
Vlak continues. “Secondly, we introduced ‘neutral voting days’ this year for the first time. During the two days of voting, it was not permitted to wear one of the party’s apparel and you were only permitted to call on people to vote once.” This made the contenders less visible on the voting days while, to Vlak’s mind, this is exactly when they need to get the voters moving. “If you do not remind students about the elections, they forget to vote.”
Finally, he states the absence of first and second year students. “They were hardly on campus at all last year and are thus less familiar with the Student Council.”
It was a challenge for both parties that the election campaigns were largely online this year too because of the corona restrictions. “We are so happy that we could retain our three seats,” says Saraf Nawar (Lijst Bèta). “But it is a shame that we only reached fewer people.”
‘It was hard to motivate the students during the voting days’
“Right to the last minute we did everything we could to reach those students,” adds Vlak. “It was hard to motivate the students during the voting days themselves. There is room for improvement.”
Now that the elections are over, the departing Chair looks back at a resilient and creative corona year. “I am proud of what the Student Council has managed to do,” says Vlak, “and how both parties developed despite the difficult circumstances.” What were his highlights? “Oras’ role in reducing the binding study advice, the national student lobby for the zachte knip (a conditional acceptance for students without the prerequisite diplomas, Eds.), and the study places in Pulse during the corona crisis.”
The seats in the central Student Council in the next academic year will be filled by:
- Lotte Kuiper, Mart Vloet, Maarten de Nooijer, Eefje Eikelenboom, Rutger Blijleven, Mara Linssen and Clara van der Heijden on behalf of Oras.
- Saraf Nawar, Julian van Dijk and Khalid el Haji on behalf of Lijst Bèta.