Title: Voting Advice Applications and their effect on voter turnout: the case of the German Wahl-O-Mat

Authors: Stefan Marschall; Martin Schultze

Addresses: Department of Social Sciences, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitaetsstraße 1, 40225 Duesseldorf, Germany ' Department of Social Sciences, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitaetsstraße 1, 40225 Duesseldorf, Germany

Abstract: In many states, Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) have become an almost indispensable element within electoral campaigns. Many of these tools are part of civic education projects which are supposed to mobilise voters to go to elections. This paper discusses whether VAAs meet this expectation. Out of a theoretical perspective which combines rational choice arguments with the issue-orientation of voters, the paper makes it plausible why VAAs should have such an impact. The empirical test focuses on the German VAA - the Wahl-O-Mat - before the German Federal Election in 2009, drawing on an online-generated dataset provided by the German Longitudinal Election Study which in large is representative for the German online community. The multivariate analyses indicate that, controlled for the relevant variables, using the Wahl-O-Mat indeed had a significant positive effect on the intention to vote.

Keywords: voting intentions; internet; online communications; voter mobilisation; voting advice applications; German Longitudinal Election Study; 2009 German Federal Election; VAAs; e-democracy; national elections; electoral behaviour; electoral impact; election campaigning; internet; voting aid applications; electronic democracy; electoral campaigns; Wahl-O-Mat.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2012.051314

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2012 Vol.5 No.3/4, pp.349 - 366

Received: 26 Jan 2012
Accepted: 19 Sep 2012

Published online: 04 Jan 2013 *

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