On the occasion of this year’s Bundestag election, the opinion research institution FORSA reported in a poll that 51 per cent of Germans would cast their vote online if given the opportunity. That is four per cent more than just four years ago.
Especially strong is the willingness to vote online among the age group of 18- to 29-year-olds, according to the poll results. The so-called Generation Y (“Digital Natives”) already uses the internet particularly frequently in many areas of their lives. In the poll, 65 per cent of these Digital Natives stated that they would cast their vote online.
The opportunity to vote online thus appears to have good chances for stabilising or even increasing voter participation, as voter apathy is especially high in this age group. Many of those polled also clearly share this opinion, as 45 per cent stated that they believe online votes could also motivate non-voters to partake in the election. When asked for a reason, 43 per cent of the citizens polled said that they believe online voting to be simpler and more comfortable than voting via post.
Just four years ago Forsa (as commissioned by the trade association Bitkom) polled Germans for their opinion on online voting. At the time 47 per cent stated that they would have taken the opportunity to vote online, and this number was 57 per cent among the Digital Natives in 2009. By Forsa’s and Bitkom’s calculations, voter participation could have increased from 70 to 77 per cent by offering online voting.
Information on the polls:
2013: Poll of 1,000 authorised German voters on their opinion of online voting and e-participation, conducted by Forsa as commissioned by Microsoft Deutschland. Additional information can be found in Microsoft Newsroom (german) and in an article from the TAZ online (german).
2009: Poll of 1,000 authorised German voters by Forsa as commissioned by BITKOM. Additional information can be found at BITKOM (german).