I remember…
I remember…
Juniorwahl 2017
Juniorwahl 2017
Gymnasium Hochrad  ›   Aktuelles  ›  Social Science   ›  The Wahl-O-Mat – and what students of Life on Earth think of it

The Wahl-O-Mat – and what students of Life on Earth think of it

22. September 2017

Social Science

The Wahl-O-Mat is an online tool from the bpb (Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung) with 38 statements, which is supposed to assist citizens in their choice which party to vote for in the next federal elections in Germany. You can either agree, disagree, or take a neutral position on each of the 38 thesis statements.

All of the 32 existing parties on the ballot paper have given their positive or negative assessment of the 38 thesis statements. So at the end you are able to choose eight parties to which the Wahl-O-Mat then tells you the exact percentage of agreement.

The bpb points out that the Wahl-O-Mat should only be a guidance tool, but a large group of people seem to think of it as a definite reference who to vote for. This can be a major problem as the questions do not cover the entire election campaign topics of all parties. For instance, questions concerning the education system are non-existent, although they are for many parties and citizens a considerable argument. The same is true for climate change policies, foreign affairs, and digitisation, which appear vital topics for our future.

Other statements appear rather dispensable, as for example the statement about the culture of remembrance of the holocaust, which hardly any party opposes. Additionally, some statements appear to be too vague, as for example the one on the financing of the renewables in Germany by the federal government because more details on sums and degree of supportive programmes are necessary to sensibly take a stance with regard to this project. Also rather ambiguous is the statement “high assets should be taxed” because no details are given.

A possibility to overcome these limits of the Wahl-O-Mat could be information links for the different statements. Thus, the users could gain more pieces of information on statements that they have questions about. Added to that, a better prioritizing of the different political fields and the connected statements is necessary so that one can define to a higher degree which aspects one sees as very important for one’s election decision. (Just adding one extra star to a statement is simply not enough.)

So the Wahl-O-Mat has got its deficiencies but still overall seems to be a recommendable guide and help for the voters. It does cover a vast number of political issues that are important for the federal election, but it also neglects and misses out a number of central issues. Besides, voters should be more aware that it is only an assistance tool and does not provide a definite election decision.