Monday, November 5, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: Elections

In honor of tomorrow's election day in America, we thought we would focus on differences in American and German elections. There is A LOT that could be said on this topic, but we don't want to write it all, you don't want to read it all, and it would just gets messy and complicated. Therefore, we decided to just stick to a few interesting points.


2011 seats (
A huge difference between the USA and Germany is the number of active parties (with a real chance of getting elected). While in the USA, only the Republican and Democratic parties are likely to win a large election, in Germany, the top players come from various parties. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the Left, the Greens, and the Pirates, are all relatively large parties that win big elections.

This larger number of parties in Germany forces groups to work together and form coalitions. It is, for the most part, impossible for one party to have the majority alone.

2011 seats (

Although both of these graphs are old (from 2011), you can see what a huge difference there is between the USA and Germany when it comes to the government being split into parties.

Like in the USA, each party is associated with a color. With more parties, the colors are more spread out in Germany. The poor Left are stuck with purple :p


Another large difference between elections in the USA and Germany is the campaigning. While the USA focuses on individual candidates, Germany focuses mainly on the party. Candidates in Germany are not forced to raise their own money because the campaign is financed by the party. Often on signs and advertisements, the name of the party is larger than the name of the individual. Additionally, Germany does not have preliminaries where the general public decides who will be running to represent the party. Instead, the party nominates the candidate.

A great thing about Germany is that the law prohibits campaining through the use of advertisements such as billboards until a few weeks before the campaign. This saves the public from being bombarded by political ads for months before the election. If you are ever in the USA before a big election you will know how horrible and seemingly never-ending campaigning can get.

Election Day:

Election day is always on Sunday in Germany in comparison to Tuesday in the USA. The idea is that on Sunday people have time off and can make it to their polling place without a problem. Apparently, this idea works. Voting in the USA hovers around 55% (up to 63% in the 2008 presidential election) while it is around 85% in Germany.

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