How to decide on your vote?

It’s election day in Amsterdam. People are going to the polls to cast their votes for the provincial elections and the waterboard. But how do you decide who you’re going to vote for? What are people’s motivations to vote in general?


VOXPOP: election day in Noord

By Alexandra Phou

Click on the link to hear what and why people voted in Amsterdam-Noord.

What to do when you don’t know who to vote for

By Tamia van Waveren

Are you not sure who to vote for yet? Use the infographic underneath. It will help you make the right decision.

The voting tools: useful ally or unreliable machine?

By Wessel Vis

It’s election day in the Netherlands. Many citizens are trying to figure out what to vote for. With each province having over 15 parties to vote for, it can be quite a challenge to find the party that fits your beliefs. Luckily, there are countless tools to help you. How do they work? And does it help with finding the right party?

People are walking in and out of the Tolhuistuin music venue in Amsterdam-Noord. Not for a performance that is happening inside the venue, but for the elections. One of these people is Robert. “I voted for the Pirate Party, but I didn’t think much about it,” he says. “I don’t believe in any of the bigger parties anymore, so when I saw my voting ballot I thought; why not?”

Many voters are like bricklayer Robert, but lots of people try to figure out which party might fit their views the best. A helpful machine to decide your vote are the voting tools, like Stemwijzer en Kieskompas. These tools help you list the most fitting parties, based on your agreement with certain topics. The more you agree with some topics, the higher some parties will be suggested.

Many people have used these tools to get more insight into their political views. One of these is Marijn, a fifth-year Business student. “I have too little time to read through all the party programs. There are a lot of parties that I might agree with, and because of Kieskompas, I’ve been able to set straight which parties align with my beliefs. GroenLinks came out on top, so I’m going to vote for them.”

Positive experiences and criticism
Tools like these have made finding the right party a lot easier. No more reading through thick party policies and standpoints. Just answer a few questions and there you go! Your best choices are on your screen. It is very convenient, but many people have criticized this way of finding your party.

Doctor Martin Rosema, a political science teacher at the University of Twente, has commented on a large ‘blind spot’ in the design of these tools. Rosema’s criticism is that these tools are based on campaign promises, but don’t consider the number of times these parties have followed through with these promises.

Many of the voters at Tolhuistuin agree with this criticism. Marketing student Sil and his friend Marijke both just cast their votes. “I voted for the Animal Party,” says Sil with a smile. “I know that they’re not a big party, but looking back at their policy and promises in the House of Representatives, I can tell that they have been very consistent. That’s a very important thing to catch my vote.” He does say that he did use a voting tool to help him decide. Sil: “The Animal Party was my second suggestion. The first was Groenlinks, but I don’t think they have been consistent at all. That’s why I voted Animal Party.”

This criticism of Sil is something a lot of other voters struggled with. Lots of people feel like they get a vote suggestion. Many people have told that they got the FVD, a right-wing party, as a main suggestion, even though they don’t align themselves with these points of view. Sil’s friend Marijke said that the main suggestion from her voting tool was the Christenunie, a Christian center party. “That was not what I was expecting!” she exclaims with a laugh. “They are very progressive on environmental issues, but they are pro-life and critical of gay marriage. These are essential issues for me as an LGBTQ woman. I can’t vote for a party that doesn’t align with my views. I went for my third choice, VOLT. In the Toolhuistuin polling stations, more and more people walk in and out of the voting booths. People come from work, eager to cast their vote for the best candidate. Many have filled in the voting tools to help them find the right pick. Will they be rewarded? Only time will tell, but these people made sure, to make their vote count.