Organisation - June 19, 2014

Revote for Rikilt employees’ council

Rob Ramaker

The employees’ council elections for Rikilt have been declared invalid. The Wageningen UR research institute used an alternative voting system for the elections but as a result, many employees turned out to have cast invalid votes. So the election committee has decided there will have to be a revote.

This year, Rikilt staff had to choose a team of four from among the candidates, rather than voting for a list. ‘This meant it was compulsory for voters to cast four votes per person,’ explains Maryvon Noordam, the chair of the Rikilt employees’ council. The argument was that this would let voters determine the majority in the council. Furthermore, the method would result in a more even distribution of votes.

However in practice the voting application also accepted forms with three votes or less, with the 125 voters casting a total of only 483 votes. ‘It turned out not to be possible to eliminate the invalid votes,’ says Noordam, ‘so the result has been declared invalid.’ Rikilt will therefore soon be voting again, but on paper this time. Noordam is quite sanguine, despite her irritation: ‘We had been assured it would work. So it’s just bad luck.’

Lower turnout

In the other electoral groups, 44 per cent of those eligible to vote actually voted. In 2011, 56 per cent of the eligible employees voted, while the figure for 2008 was only 39 per cent. The turnout fluctuates so much partly because the electoral groups taking part varies every time. That is because not all electoral groups manage to field sufficient candidates every three years to require an election. This year, for instance, only five of the nineteen groups went to the polls. 

Alterra has traditionally been able to attract a lot of voters. Indeed, the 61 per cent who voted had a relatively wide choice, with eleven candidates for six seats. The turnout at Facilities and Services, Imares Den Helder and PPO/PRI was 36, 57 and 42 per cent respectively of those eligible to vote.