The turnout of the student council elections increased this year with five percent. With this Wageningen University goes against a national trend of stagnant and declining turnouts.
Previous years about 35 percent of the Wageningen students voted. This time the turnout suddenly jumped to 39,6 percent. A possible cause is the simplification of the voting system, says YuFei Wang, student council member on behalf of S&I, and member of the election commission. Students received a link in their mail which linked directly to the voting form. Intermediate steps, such as login from previous years, were removed.
Among the candidates many possible explanations were heard. The campaign was more visible and more dynamic. Also the planned experiments with evening classes may have motivated students.
One thing is for sure, only two other universities had a higher turnout. Half of the students of Tilburg voted and 40 percent of the students at the TU Delft voted.
Nationwide the trend is mainly negative. In Utrecht the university medium DUB called the turnout of 19 percent a ‘low point’, also Leiden has now reached under 20 percent. Maastricht (-5 percent points) and Groningen (-4 percent points) declined considerably. In large cities the interest has been low for a while now. Both at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Erasmus University Rotterdam did not manage to go above 20 percent. The Vrije Universiteit did not even have elections this year.
At the other universities the turnout is better. The University of Twente is stable at 34 percent, the Radboud University at 35 percent and the Technical University Eindhoven (TUe) at 38 percent. Although the latter two showed a slight decrease and in Nijmegen 12 percent of the students had filled in blank votes.