Every vote counts

Every vote counts

by ftrprf

The turnout for the Dutch municipal elections has never been as low as this year. Just 50.9% of eligible voters marked their choice with a red pencil. In some cities, such as Rotterdam, Tilburg and Almere, less than 40% voted. Surprising numbers, since 65% of eligible voters said to be ‘certain’ to go vote.

Media attention for the war in Ukraine is said to have taken up part of the attention. Other reasons provided for the low turnout are a lack of trust in local politics, uncertainty about who to vote for, and simply a lack of interest.

This low turnout is not the only thing that stands out. In many municipalities, local parties won big. Over a third of all votes went to a local party: they jointly won almost 700 additional seats compared to four years ago. Echt voor Barendrecht [truly for Barendrecht] even won 60% of the votes in the town. Also in Zeewolde, a local party won an absolute majority: Lokaal Zeewolde [Locally Zeewolde] - strongly opposed to building the controversial Meta datacenter - received 10 out of 19 seats. And even though younger people tend to vote less than older people, Studenten Techniek in Politiek [Technical Students in Politics] won the elections in Delft, and Jong Zandvoort [Young Zandvoort] moved from 0 to 3 seats.

The message seems pretty clear: 'local parties are the future.' Or was it 'single issues are the future’? Or 'the future of democracy requires completely different ways of participating'? The question is how we can bring politics closer to society. In fact, politics is society. If parties represent the interests of their residents, it cannot be the case that half of those entitled to vote are not interested or have too little faith in politics. It is time for radical renewal in politics. And we don't mean 'more polarisation,' but 'more involvement in society.' So that we convert the downward trend of the last thirty years upwards. Shall we?