Putting an end to the agony of choice
Finally it is online, the election-o-mat for the Bundestag election 2005. The online tool is supposed to make the agony of choice easier for first-time voters, but not only young voters have their fun with the thesis course, which you run through by mouse click. In the end, you find out which party best suits your views, and that has its charms even for experienced voters.
Particularly the so-called Wechselwahler were allowed to profit from the Wahl-O-Mat. The Wahl-O-Mat is not meant to be an election aid, but rather a stimulus to deal with core problems of politics on the one hand and the contents of the party programs on the other hand. Of course, you can also consult the Wahl-O-Mat until the results match your own expectations. So if you think you are an adherent of party x at the bottom of your heart, you don’t need to panic when party y comes out as a recommendation after the first Wahl-O-Mat walk through. In other words, as with any computer game, practice makes perfect.
[wahlomat_tshirt_message_close_kl; BU: Wahl-O-Mat wants to make people want to vote]
The current version of Wahl-O-Mat was presented yesterday at a press conference, where representatives of the most promising parties demonstrated in front of running cameras that voting is, firstly, child’s play and, secondly, a question of conviction. In any case, the right party came out in the end in each case. It was therefore more interesting to see what was in second position in each case: according to Klaus-Uwe Benneter’s selection, the best match for the SPD was DieLinke.PDS, to the CDU/CSU according to Gunther Krings most likely the FDP, to DieLinke.PDS best fit after Bodo Ramelow Bundnis90/Die Grunen, also for Steffi Lemke of Bundnis90/Die Grunen would be DieLinke.PDS would be the best coalition partner, and Hans-Jurgen Beerfeltz’s results show that everything fits with the FDP.
[wahlomat_beerfeltz_fdp_screenshot_screen_kl; BU: Almost anything goes with the FDP.]
The Wahl-O-Mat was offered for the first time in Germany for the 2002 Bundestag elections. Since then, it has not been missing from any major election, most recently preparing young and old for the state elections in Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. The Dutch Stemwijzer provided the model.
It’s the differences that count
No other web service of the Federal Agency for Civic Education is as popular as the Wahl-O-Mat, and when it comes to voting, there has been no other election tool in Germany that has been used more often, at least until now. In the meantime, however, there is competition. The surf poets offer a "Wahlomat alternative", which is characterized by the fact that it is primarily the programs of the so-called "parties" that are considered "small parties" have been processed. The Wahl-O-Mat takes into account only those parties that have a realistic chance of winning at least three percent of the vote. And these are in this election period Bundnis 90/Die Grunen, CDU/CSU, Die Linke.PDS, FDP and SPD.
[wahlomat_mannschaft_teenies02_kl; BU: Numerous young and first-time voters have contributed to the Wahl-O-Mat.]
Based on the respective party program, the makers of Wahl-O-Maten have sent the promising parties a list of 71 theses. These theses should be answered with "agree", "do not agree" or "neutral" be answered with. In the end, all those points were removed that did not make it possible to distinguish between the parties sufficiently – after all, the user is supposed to receive a clear election recommendation. There are 30 theses left, which the user has to click through.
[wahlomat_ramelow_dielinkepds_interview02; BU: Bodo Ramelow, campaign manager The Left Party.PDS explains to the press why he chooses what he chooses.]
The threat of more jobs
At the Surfpoeten the questionnaire contains 28 points. The first thesis, which is at the disposal of the surf poets, is: "More jobs must be created." Possible answers: "AGREE", "neutral", "do not agree". In addition, there is the option "Unsure?". If you click on it, you can see in drastic colors what would happen if more jobs were actually created: even more unwanted calls from call centers, even more useless products. The conclusion of the Surfpoeten: "The promise to create more jobs is basically a threat – the threat of a huge flood of pointless products." However, the additional advice on the following points is usually much more sparse, and there are no comments at all on the topics of divorce, manned rockets Made in Germany and comprehensive schools.
If one agrees with each of the 28 questions of the surf poets, one ends up with the election recommendation 50plus – however, nowhere is explained what the party stands for. If you do not agree with any of the theses, the recommendation is: REP. For further information there is only a link to the website of the Republicans. If one always remains neutral, recommends the Surfpoeten: "You should not go to elections. Your answers suggest that you have not yet dealt with the questions and have not formed your own opinion."
Whoever "Yes" says, lands with DieLinke.PDS
With the original Wahl-O-Mat, tricksters are not made quite as easy: if you keep clicking "agree", you get the following message from question 11 of 30 onwards: "Please answer the questions accurately and carefully." Nevertheless, there is a result at the end: DieLinke.PDS. Because that alone does not say much, you can compare your own position, in this case the ultimate yes-man position, with the positions of all parties standing for election. The fact that the background information is far more well-founded here than with the Surfpoeten is program. Finally the contents are authorized by the parties themselves. The surf poets have also contacted the respective parties, but in case of doubt, they have decided for their own interpretation or for the Spab principle. And unlike the Wahl-O-Mat, where at the end the party is shown that fits best to your own answer profile, the "Wahlomat Alternative" always the party with which you have the least points of contact, because: "In the Bundestag election, you only have the option of voting for the least ubel for you, i.e. the party that represents you the least not."
At the Federal Agency for Civic Education the "Wahlomat Alternative" well known. You don’t think they are serious. This – according to an employee of the press office – is already recognizable by the fact that there are questions like "The wall should be rebuilt" come up. This is a joke. This question is not a joke, but the central demand of the party for labor, rule of law, animal protection, elite demand grassroots democratic initiative, in short: the party. Since 24 percent of West Germans and 12 percent of East Germans want the Wall back, it might not be so bad if Wahl-O-Mat expanded its spectrum a little in the future.