Are Canadians happy with the election results?
State electionAfD conquers the non-voters
A young man, short dark blonde hair, walks towards a block of flats, says hello and stops. Only a few come here voluntarily, so the curiosity is correspondingly great when other faces appear in the social housing estate on the outskirts of Reutlingen, a large city in the middle of Baden-Württemberg. When asked whether he would vote on Sunday, the young man answered with a clear no without hesitation.
"I just don't vote for a party, because they just want to be in power and have money, it's all about the money, I think."
The 25-year-old explains that he was trained as a landscape maintenance worker and is currently looking for another job. He has never voted and never will vote, he says:
"Nothing is ever changed in Germany, everything stays the same, refugees get quite a bit and the other unemployed people, their own in their own country, get less and less and everything is getting more and more expensive."
Low income, low turnout
A man in sportswear, maybe 40 years old, comes by. He won't vote anymore, he says, too, but he doesn't want to repeat that in front of the microphone. This man also reports that he has no job and has just come from office.
A study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung published last year came to the conclusion: the higher the unemployment, the lower the average income, the worse the residential area in a district, the lower the voter turnout. Democracy researcher Robert Vehrkamp from the Bertelsmanns Foundation:
"People from socially disadvantaged backgrounds in particular no longer vote. Voter turnout in Germany is socially divided. While the educated and high-income milieus continue to vote almost 90 percent in elections, the turnout in one of the socially weaker milieus is significantly under 50 percent. "
Back in Reutlingen, a middle-aged woman opens the door. She is somewhat amused by the question of whether she will vote:
"I haven't even looked at it yet."
"I have to work on Sunday," she adds, and then that she always had to choose in the past.
"My parents were still alive there, they ticked the box for me."
Election results no longer socially representative
The facades of the long apartment blocks are partially clad with wood, the settlement could also stand in the Canadian wilderness. Accordingly, a woman with gray-blonde hair feels around 65 years old when she is left alone. State election on Sunday? She heard about it for the first time, she had never received an election notification, so not even for Sunday. She has 160 euros a month to live on, who should she choose, even if she could? The woman asks.
Vehrkamp: "Our election results are no longer socially representative. And, in the worst case, socially distorted election results lead to socially distorted politics."
Politicians fish where most voters think they are, says Vehrkamp. The election campaign activities are therefore concentrated on the districts in which voter turnout is already high. The typical non-voter strongholds become campaign-free zones. Several respondents in the Reutlinger Siedlung confirm this statement. Nobody has ever seen a politician in the area, not even election posters hang in the neighborhood. A woman in her mid-thirties with ponytails and freckles opens the door in a friendly manner. She has two children and is quite happy, says the woman. Choose?
"Not really, I haven't gotten around to it yet, it didn't interest me either. Nobody votes here in the area, you don't actually talk about something like that here. Well, nobody has ever talked about it."
Targeted campaigns for non-voters
Verhrkamp advises targeted campaigns for non-voters, independent and state-funded. The democracy researcher also believes that lowering the voting age to 16 could lead to more people voting in the future:
"Because especially young people from the typical non-voter milieus could be activated and mobilized in schools. Mobilizing non-voters is not an easy business, but it works."
Unfortunately, according to Verhrkamp, the AfD is doing it right now:
"Which achieves above-average results in many non-voter strongholds. But we must not leave the non-voters to the populists."
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