Science and technology: This is how Wahl-O-Mat works

Try: This is how the Wahl-O-Mat works

Wahl-O-Mat is also available as an app – intended to bring voters closer to party platforms. Photo: Fernando Gutierrez Juarez / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa-tmn

(Photo: dpa)

Users are presented with 38 political theses and they can choose: “agree”, “disagree” and “neutral”. The latter can mean either that one disagrees or disagrees. Or that you have no say in the statement. Then your political positions are compared with those of the parties.

Annoying topics and long-term strikes

The theses presented cover a wide range of topics. Current triggers are here – such as reducing rent increases and eliminating the internal combustion engine. It’s about hot topics like climate change and migration. But there are also many classics that have long been simmering halfway in Germany’s political debate, for example the abolition of solos, the return of the wealth tax or debt brake.

For many, some points may fall into the niche category. Examples: “Controlled sale of cannabis should generally be permitted.” Or: “Vaccines against Covid-19 should still be protected by patents.” On the other hand, one could argue that very relevant topics such as the future financing of pensions tend to be neglected.

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Which theses are presented and their significance is of course a matter of opinion. So, in the end, those phrases that are of particular importance to you can have extra weight. Finally, in the form of a bar chart, you can see how much you agree with the positions of the parties. Individuals or all available for selection can be selected by ticking.

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More clarity through “tuning”

The “Settings” option is new with this choice. Here you can change your positions and weights afterwards and see how that affects the outcome. According to the motto: Which theme exactly makes me lean towards this or that party? The “partisan comparison” is also new. There you can find out what issues the parties agree on or disagree on.

Particularly useful: Under the “Justifications” heading, voters can find out exactly why parties welcome or reject individual arguments. Because in principle each position can be defended or criticized for completely different reasons.

This feature is also useful because theses alone are partially inaccurate, due to the formatting. Example: “The possibilities of landlords to increase apartment rents must be strictly limited by law.” It remains to be seen what specific means politicians should have in this regard.

Young voters are more likely to be addressed

According to the BPB, Wahl-O-Mat should not be a recommendation, but voters should be informed and familiarized with the election programme. An editorial team made up of young voters and various experts compiled theses and sent them to the parties. Then they responded.

Wahl-O-Mat has been available since 2002 before the federal, European and state elections, and is now also available as a smartphone app. There are different alternatives.


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