‘We as young people are not actually represented’

‘We as young people are not actually represented’
‘We as young people are not actually represented’
Voting for the House of Representatives elections takes place at the Montessori Lyceum in Amsterdam. A national initiative to introduce democracy to students.Image Angela Baas

Most students in the upper grades of the Montessori Lyceum (MLA) do not yet have the right to vote, but that does not matter on Monday morning. Today they enter the voting booth in the social studies room of the secondary school in South. Including ballots, an identity check – “Can I see your school ID?” – and red pencils.

The turnout percentage on Monday morning in the MLA Amsterdam-Zuid: 70.4 percent.

The National School Elections are an initiative of ProDemos to involve students in politics from an early age. The aim is to lower the voting threshold, so that young people can also go to the polling station at the age of eighteen.

Social studies

The House of Representatives elections were discussed during social studies in recent weeks. “The students understand that today is a serious matter,” says Anique ter Welle, school leader of the upper school. She heard discussion in the hallways this morning: “Don’t you know yet what you’re voting for? Have you not done the voting guide yet?”

When the national results are received on Tuesday, the results in class will be compared with those of other schools. “These have been interesting conversations the past few times,” says Ter Welle. “Students realize: not everyone votes like here.”

Today, around 850 students can work with the red pencil in the improvised polling station. Afterwards, the votes are counted by the ‘polling station staff’ (read: teachers).

Purple Volt sweater

Silver (15) hovers over his ballot paper for at least three minutes. “I really don’t know, something different came out of every voting guide.” He did them all: Kieskompas, Kieswijzer, Young Voice, but nothing was decisive. The conclusion of his preliminary research: “Very far right can become a bit scary, and too far left can also turn out radical.” Five minutes later his ticket goes in the mail.

Dico (17) doesn’t have to think for a second. Dressed in a purple Volt jersey and ditto cape, his ticket arrives in the bus less than twenty seconds after arrival. “I love the European perspective,” he says. According to the youth member, Volt will certainly achieve the climate goals.

In two months, Gilbert (17) will be officially eligible to vote. “Two months late,” he says as he puts his ballot in the mail. He thinks it is important that the Netherlands does not change too much. “Not everything has to become digital, the Netherlands must also remain authentic.”

A few hours later, all votes were counted. 858 voters, 594 votes. 2 blank, 8 invalid. Several parties were ticked there. That doesn’t work, even when in doubt.

Election results

If the Amsterdam teenagers from the Montessori Lyceum in South were in charge, GroenLinks-PvdA – as predicted by the school management – would take the lead with 220 votes. Followed by D66 with 115 votes (more than expected), and Volt with 52. VVD receives 46, FvD 37.

In the Netherlands where teenagers live, CDA, NSC and BBB score considerably lower: they each receive six votes.

“We as young people are not actually represented in real politics,” says Verona (16). “That only happens through the grapevine.” If it were up to her, the voice of students really counts.

That would not work out equally well for every party. JA21 is having a hard time with the MLA. With exactly zero votes, this party, just like Samen voor Nederland, the Libertarian Party and the Political Party for Basic Income, certainly does not lead the country of teenagers.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: young people represented


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