It’s election time again in Norway, and this time it’s the local elections. On the 14th of September, people will be flocking to the polling stations to decide who’ll occupy the seats in the municipality and county councils for the next four years. Calling it “flocking” might be a bit of an exaggeration. During the 2011 local elections, only around 60% of the electorate voted. The other 40% didn’t bother to drag their pathetic asses to a polling station. Not voting is outrageous – in some countries people die for the right to vote, 40% of Norwegians think it’s too much hassle. To you I say: Man the fuck up and vote this year. If it’s impossible for you to find a party that deserves your vote, you can cast a blank vote. That way, you can demonstrate your dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates.
If you decide not to vote, at least have the decency to shut the fuck up for the next four years – if you abstain from voting, you also yield your right to complain.
Now, deciding what to vote can be a bit tricky. Most politicians speak a language the majority of us have trouble understanding1 and figuring out what the actual difference between the various candidates is can be hard. Enter stage left: Technology. This year, like every election year since the internet became a thing, we can pick and choose from various “valgomats”; sites on the internet where voters can sit down in the leisure of their own living room, answer a bunch of questions and have the internet tell them what to vote.
A great idea, at least in theory, but it shouldn’t be your only source of information if you’re not sure what to vote. Most of the valgomats are run by online newspapers and newspapers tend to be biased towards the left or right side of politics. So there’s a fair chance the valgomat sites are biased, too. Yeah, the opinions you entered into the valgomat site means that you should vote for candidate A, but the newspaper is biased towards candidate B, so that’s what they tell you to vote. So instead of putting all your trust in one valgomat, use them all, pick the three most likely parties according to the results from all of the valgomats and do a little research yourself. All the parties have a pretty good internet presence these days, and if you can’t find anything on the web, you’re sure to bump into someone trying to get you to vote for their party outside the mall every weekend from now until election day.
Personally, it looks like I’m still politically adjusted well to the (green) left, which comes as no surprise. I’ve included my results from three valgomats below. We’ll see what I end up with on the 14th. And now: Research time.