How does Wahl-O-Mat work for the 2021 federal election?

What do the parties in Germany actually want? And what does that mean for my election decision? Wahl-O-Mat aims to help answer this question. We took a look at the tool.

Who should I vote for? And what do I want from the parties anyway? The Wahl-O-Mat (Election-O-Mat) provides assistance for voters. The tool of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) was activated on Thursday (2.9.).

Users are presented with 38 political theses and can select: “agree,” “disagree” and “neutral. The latter can either mean that one neither agrees nor disagrees. Or that one has no opinion on the statement. The user’s own political attitudes are then compared with the positions of the parties.

The Wahl-O-Mat asks about these topics

The theses covered a wide range of topics. Current upsets are included – such as the limitation of rent increases and the abolition of the internal combustion engine. Hot topics include climate change and migration. But there are also various classics that have long been simmering at half-steam in the political debate in Germany, such as the abolition of the solidarity tax, a return of the wealth tax or the debt brake.

Some points are likely to fall more into the category of niche issues for many. Examples: “The controlled sale of cannabis should generally be allowed.” Or, “Vaccines against Covid-19 should continue to be protected by patents.” On the other hand, it could be argued that very relevant topics such as the future financing of pensions are rather neglected.

Which theses are presented and how important is, of course, a matter of opinion. That’s why you can overweight the statements that are particularly important to you at the end. Finally, a bar chart shows the percentage of agreement with the parties’ positions. You can select individual statements or, by checking the box, select all of them.

New “tuning” option lets you weight issues

New for this election is the option “Tuning”. Here you can change your positions and weightings afterwards and see how this affects the result. According to the motto: Which issue exactly causes me to lean towards this or that party? Another new feature is a “party comparison”. Here you can find out on which topics the parties agree or diverge.

A particularly helpful feature is the “Reasons” section, which tells voters exactly why the parties welcome or reject individual theses. After all, each position can be supported or criticized for very different reasons.

This feature is also useful because the theses alone are sometimes imprecise, which is due to the format. Example: “Landlords’ ability to raise apartment rents should be more limited by law.” Here, it remains open what concrete means politicians should have to do this.

Election-O-Mat is aimed at younger voters

According to the bpb, Wahl-O-Mat is not intended to be a recommendation, but to inform and introduce voters to the election programs. An editorial team made up of young voters and various experts drew up the theses and sent them to the parties. The parties then responded.

The Wahl-O-Mat has been available since 2002 ahead of federal, European and state elections, and is now also available as a smartphone app. There are various alternatives.

Alternatives to the top dog

In addition to the Wahl-O-Mat, there are other helpers for deciding which election to vote. Two popular alternatives are included:

  • Election Swiper
  • Wahltraut

If you’re particularly interested in taxes, read our article on the Tax-O-Mat.

With material from dpa