Voter turnout in Germany is decreasing and no longer socially representative. This harms our democracy. There aren't any simple, fail-safe solutions for countering declining voter turnout. However, the eight proposals in the new issue of the "EINWURF" policy brief provide an outline of how voter turnout could be raised anew as well as how to mitigate its social inequality.
The 8-point plan focuses on the core issues of who votes, how we vote and according to which rules we vote. Here, the main focus lies on incentives and instruments for mobilizing non-voters, a more modern organization of elections, and a more transparent election law.
Although 41 percent of non-voters identify themselves as "never voters" these days, 59 percent of non-voters still view themselves as "occasional voters" or even "always voters". In other words, the majority of non-voters do not rule out participation in elections per se. They can still be addressed and mobilized, even by established parties. But for that to happen, there needs to be a concerted effort and strategy on the part of all democratic forces. The following 8-point plan would be a first step toward achieving these goals:
- Lower the Voting Age to 16 – Lowering the active voting age to 16 will boost voter turnout for all elections – and keep it there!
- Mobilize Non-Voters – A non-partisan door-to-door campaign will increase voter turnout by up to 10 percentage points.
- Reform Party Financing – Introducing a voter-turnout bonus will create incentives aimed at mobilizing non-voters.
- Modernize Poll Voting – A national electronic electoral roll and voting computers will enable all citizens to cast their votes at any polling station.
- Use the Opportunities of I-Voting – Over time, the Internet will develop into a new channel for casting votes during elections.
- Make Postal Voting Easier – Postal voting documents will be sent to all eligible voters automatically and without request.
- Combine Election Dates – Having fewer voting dates by combining them vertically and horizontally will increase voter turnout.
- Simplify the Election Law – Having a simpler election law will also contribute to increasing voter turnout and making it less socially selective.
To read more about the 8-point plan, click on the "EINWURF" linked below.