Volt and the Wahl-o-mat

Volt has killed the Wahl-o-mat for the European elections in 2019! So the current scandal message circulating in the press. But who is really to blame for the popular Wahl-o-mat beeing no longer online? Is that really Volt? Or maybe Volt is completely right and a German federal authority is guilty? I’ll tell you the exciting story of why that happened and why it did not have to happen, and who’s really the Wahl-o-mat killer.

What is the Wahl-o-mat?

The German Federal Agency for Civic Education offers the Wahl-o-mat on it’s website. Actually a great part. You get a series of questions about political issues and give your opinion. Then a computer program compares the opinion of the voter with the election programs of the parties stored in the database and calculates how many percent match. As a result, a leaderboard is displayed to see which party best suits your opinion.

What is the catch at the Wahl-o-mat?

In the European elections, 41 parties take part in Germany. If one has answered all the questions of Wahl-o-mat, does not compare all parties with the wishes of the voter, but one should first select 8 parties, which are then compared with your answers.

Price question: why eight?

I also wondered about this restriction myself when I used the Wahl-o-mat to inform myself. But because I wanted to have a really comprehensive result, it took me a long time to really make all the comparisons with all the parties. Well, with almost all of them – I have excluded some brown dung once in a while.

Why can not you compare all 41 parties at the same time?

The Federal Agency for Civic Education, which runs Wahl-o-mat, says that this is “technically impossible”. I beg your pardon?!? While any online dating site compares hundreds of thousands of accounts to find matching affiliates, the Wahl-o-mat “technically” cannot cope with 41? Seriously? That’s perfect bullshit.

The code of Wahl-o-mat, the program that controls it, is publicly available. The so-called Javascript contains a given constant “parteien_selected_max”, which limits how many parties can be selected for comparison. This is – apparently completely arbitrary – set to 8.

Why this restriction?

Are they technically so uneducated at the Federal Agency for Civic Education that they seriously believe themself that this is technically impossible? Unlikely. Much more plausible seems the explanation against which Volt has proceeded: One deliberately tries to keep small and unknown parties small and unknown. For how does the voter choose the eight parties to be compared? Of course, he takes the one he knows first. Then he takes out of them, either the one with the greatest agreement, or the one he wanted to vote anyway.

A comparison of all parties, as I have made him, is possible only with great effort. You have to change the selection of the eight parties several times and remember the results in between. I say that’s what few people will do.

Result: Small and yet unknown parties are significantly disadvantaged because they are included in the selection of the fewest voters. It has just turned out to me that these – especially Volt – sometimes much better fit my opinions, as the great veterans.

What did Volt want to achieve?

The Volt party had approached the Federal Agency for Civic Education for the problem and asked them to lift the artificial restriction to 8 choices. That was not done.

What happens if an agency does not do what you want? One complains. In this case before the Administrative Court of Cologne. That’s exactly what administrative courts are there for. A normal process in our legal system.

Incidentally, it was not even complained to switch the Wahl-o-mat off. But on the contrary! They wanted to see it expanded and to make the Federal Agency for Civic Education suspend the arbitrary restriction of the Wahl-o-mat.

What happened?

In fact, the Administrative Court of Cologne has said: Volt is right. The restriction to a comparison of only 8 instead of all 41 parties constitutes an inappropriate disadvantage to the small parties, which should not be so.

The reasonable and politically and technically informed solution would have been: to lift the artificial restriction in the Wahl-o-mat. A matter of 5 minutes. In the program you change the constant “parteien_selected_max = 8” to “parteien_selected_max = 41”. Done!

However, the solution of the Federal Agency for Civic Education looks like this: Offended they took the Wahl-o-mat offline. Anyone who wants to inform himself comprehensively, and not as limited as the Federal Agency dictates, simply does not have to educate himself at all. Over and out. I can not roll my tiger’s eyes far enough. Holy stripes!!! That’s what they call “political education”. However, political education is obviously in short supply among the employees of the authority. Real satire at its best!

Instead, they now complain to the Higher Administrative Court of Münster about the verdict of the Administrative Court of Cologne. After all, it can not be acceptable for one of the small, unknown parties to defend itself against arbitrary discrimination, and then get justice from the court. Where would we get in the political education?

Besides, it’s great, as everybody gets excited about Volt. Mutilated and bad coverage, paired with the already very short attention span of the average uneducated scandal reporting consumer finally allow only one conclusion: Volt has killed the Wahl-o-mat. This is the revenge of the Federal Agency for Civic Education on their annoying bleating. It’s much more funny that way than simply changing the value of a constant in a program. Favor of established parties is more important than equal opportunity.

My solution:

Take WahlSwiper!

It is available online via internet browsers and as an app for smartphones and tablets. I tried the app this morning and it can do exactly what the Wahl-o-mat artificially denies: Compare all parties. Aye! Completely smoothly and without technical problems. The app is available in the Google Play Store, and also in the corresponding thing for bitten apples. It is totally easy to use and delivers serious results.


Incidentally, my 83.33% match is: … drum roll … Volt! Aye! Volt gets my vote. Now only right!


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