nonvoters 2013

We’ve received a lot of (mostly positive) feedback for our last project “Atlas der Nichtw√§hler / The Geography of Nonvoters” which visualized the spatial distribution of nonvoters for the German federal election in 2009.

One weakness of the presentation was the lack of information about the relative number of nonvoters for each voting district. Basically, by mapping every nonvoter we produced a map which looks almost the same as a visualization of the current population density.

As a consequence we’ve decided to vary the style of our map for the results of the 2013 election by additionally displaying the percentage of nonvoters for each district by diverging colors.

The results are quite interesting: More than two decades after the reunification there is still a significant gap between voters in the eastern and western parts of Germany. Especially rural parts of eastern Germany have a considerably low turnout. This is sad but in no way surprising given their demographic, economic and social situation. The refusal to cast a vote is directly connected to factors like wealth and education. The suburban regions around cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Munich therefore show higher turnouts.

Interesting and somehow surprising is the fact that some counties in Bavaria had quite low turnouts as well. Maybe voters were overly convinced that the CSU-party (who received over 50 % of the votes in Bavaria) would win anyway.


new project: the geography of nonvoters

The German election campaign steps into it’s final phase. On September 22th the Germans will elect their new Parliament.

During the weeks before the election maps, graphics and data visualizations are probably more widespread in the media than at any other time. Consequently there’s a peak in the demand for data driven journalism every four years. We want to contribute to the coverage and therefor release a map that focuses on one single aspect: the nonvoters of the last federal election.

The basic idea behind our map is to raise awareness to the number on nonvoters by visualizing turnouts for certain areas in another way than by the ordinary choropleth map. Our focus is not on the percentage of nonvoters but on the sum and spatial distribution of individual persons that did not vote.

That’s why we chose to use a dot density map, displaying one point for every ten nonvoters during the 2009 election. For our home state Hamburg we were able to get more detailed data and realized a second version with higher zoom levels, displaying one point for every single nonvoter. Of course the points do not represent real persons and their home address. Moreover, the exact location of every point was determined by a random distribution of all nonvoters in each district. For a closer & interactive look at our maps, as well as on how we realized them, take a look at our project page.