Bonn / Berlin (dpa) – Anyone who is still undecided three and a half weeks before the federal elections can now hope for decision support on the Internet: on Thursday the Federal Agency for Civic Education will again activate the traditional Wahl-O- Mast.
With the online tool, people can use 38 theses to compare their political attitudes with the positions of different parties.
As in previous years, the Wahl-O-Mat will attract millions of visits by September 26, because according to a poll by the polling institute YouGov, 35% of Germans believe it is likely that they will use the offer at the Sunday election approaching. But the “top dog” has faced increasing competition in recent years – especially since its approach is not undisputed.
Easy to deceive?
The political scientist Norbert Kersting of the University of Münster, for example, criticizes the fact that the Wahl-O-Mat offers only three possible answers and is therefore easily tricked by the parties. Instead, the “Wahl-Kompass” developed at his university uses five possible answers. “With us, the parties must show their colors”, assures Kersting.
Other critics complain that Wahl-O-Mat’s theses are based on party election manifestos – that is, announcements rather than concrete actions. This is why the privately funded project “DeinWal” is based on the evaluation of votes in the Bundestag over the past four years. But this method also has a downside: small parties that were not previously represented in the Bundestag fall through the cracks.
Berlin-based digital agency Wegewerk’s “election test” also echoes fundamental criticisms of Wahl-O-Mat – for example, that he is too undifferentiated with his pure yes / no questions. In the “election test”, users must therefore determine precisely in which year the last coal-fired power plant is to be closed or which measures are most likely to regulate apartment rents.
Lots of similarities
However, many other competing products are based on a principle similar to that of Wahl-O-Mat. The “Wahl-Swiper”, which the Movact creative studio has developed with the University of Friborg, strongly recalls the “Tinder” flirting application, because the user signals his approval or rejection of individual political theses by swiping towards left or right. “Voting is as easy as online dating,” he says accordingly.
Other offers focus on particular interests: The Social-O-Mat of Diakonie is to deal with issues on topics such as basic income, childcare costs and childcare. The farmer’s portal Agrarheute has designed the ‘Agrar-o-Mat’, which deals with agricultural payments, animal welfare and organic farming.
Control of climate elections without AfD
During the “climate election check”, 28 theses on energy or mobility are confronted with the positions of the parties. However, the Climate Alliance decided not to involve the AfD in the project. The reason given is that the party denies man-made climate change and wants to get out of the Paris climate agreement.
“Wahltraut” focuses on feminist and gender issues. This includes, for example, abortions, LGBT rights and equal representation on boards. The AfD doesn’t appear here either – which the initiators say is because the catalog of questions sent to the party went unanswered.
The “Steuer-O-Mat” of the Smartsteuer portal and the Cologne Economic Research Institute IW is even more monothematic. Based on income and marital status, it is individually calculated which party promises the highest tax increase.