7 random personal things about the Bundestagswahl

Today the German people vote for their parliament, it’s Bundestagswahl.
Here are 7 random personal things that either happen every four years before the election for me or that happened for the first time this year.

My postal vote in the iconic red envelope and part of the instructions

1. Since I don’t live in Germany anymore I keep forgetting about elections. In the past I have sometimes missed the deadline to apply for the postal vote. It’s good to get the Ausw√§rtiges Amt (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to remind you ahead of time via their Elefand service. It’s also good to have a brother who keeps on reminding you.

2. It’s embarrassing to admit but I keep on forgetting what the first and second vote is for. It’s actually not that complicated but things like that just won’t stay in my head. So I google it once every four years.

3. I used 9 different voting advice applications this year and found 7 of them seriously bad. It’s mostly their content design which is so bad. Lots of questions are ambiguous, difficult to understand, missing any context, could be understood to mean the opposite, are asking for factual things, or are very complex while only offering simple answers. The one that impressed me the most was VoteSwiper, it’s even Open Source.

4. Not that I wanted to rely on them anyway, but they helped me learn about lots of new parties I hadn’t heard of before.

5. This is the first time in my life that I read a couple of manifestos. It’s not that I’m more interested in politics. But because I am rarely in Germany I am not otherwise up-to-date with what’s happening and what parties are saying and doing.

6. There is such a thing as an (intentionally) funny manifesto. I didn’t know that was even possible until I read the manifesto of a certain parody party.

7. This is the first time that I’ve ever voted for the party I believe in the most. In Germany there are (at the moment) realistically only six parties you can give your vote to and which will get into parliament. Votes for all other parties are apparently mostly useless. Up until this year I’ve always voted for one of the handful of big parties, so voted tactically. This year I voted for a small party that represents much better what I believe in. It’s a weird feeling to change my voting behaviour, it feels both bad (“throwing a vote away”) and good (“following my heart”). I don’t know if that was a good or bad idea. But I thought it is a good time to try something new.

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