The Wageningen Kieskompas, a digital voting assistant, will be available in English for the upcoming municipal elections. This has been realised upon the request of Connect Wageningen, which will be participating in the elections for the first time.
Wageningen has a high percentage of international residents. In the academic year 2015-2016, the university had almost 2400 international students from various EU countries. Some of them are entitled to vote. ‘Connect Wageningen thinks that if you are entitled to vote by law, you should be given the possibility to exert this right, even if you are only a resident of Wageningen for a short period of time’, says spokesperson and alumnus of International Development Studies Rani Temmink. International students, PhD candidates, staff and expats do not currently have this option, as they do to understand Dutch. Together with eleven other internationals-oriented student organisations, the political party requested that the municipality translate the Kieskompas (‘Electoral Compass’) to English. Temmink: ‘This way, we will increase the involvement and hopefully the number of voters as well.’
The municipality’s reaction was positive. In the build-up to the municipal elections that will take place on 21 March, the various positions and the explanation of the Kieskompas will be available in both Dutch and English. The electoral platforms of the participating parties will not be translated, unless they decide to do so.
Temmink is pleased with the municipality’s decision. ‘I grew up in a diplomats’ family and have lived abroad my entire life. I know how important it is for newcomers to feel at home somewhere. International residents of Wageningen will find this very stimulating for their connection with the city.’