More of a Marathon than a Sprint?

As a part of Wikimedia’s Accelerator Program UNLOCK, we have been able to join several sprint weeks to kick-start our project. Funny enough, instead of sprints, we felt as if we were running a Marathon together – lifting each other up, cheering one another and joining forces in order to make it to the finish line.

  • Elena Schulz-Ruhtenberg
  • Madlene Scheiderer
  • Levy Orlando Röpcke
  • Frank Lehmann
  • Maren Heinz
  • 3. September 2021

Who is running? At UNLOCK we are running with a team of five, but behind this team, there is a social media talent, a genius developer, meticulous reviewers, a creative illustrator and a group of fantastic political experts digging deep into the archives of the German Bundestag. We are not running the race without support because we have a team of coaches around us. The UNLOCK coaches Klara Lindner and Florian Strenge have been guiding us through our creative mess, providing structure and support to balance different tasks and responsibilities. There are many things we learnt by working with them, but the most important aspect was growing the habit of checking in on each other in the team. By doing so, we are making sure to not forget the human dimension of everyone who is running for the team.

Why are we running? 

We see the rising number of false information and fake news circulating across the Internet. We observe the increase in young people not feeling the urge to vote or feeling that their voices are not heart, nor do they count. For example in Germany only 14,4% of those eligible to vote are under the age of 30. On the other hand, we notice that the age group between 21 and 24 has the lowest voter turnout. Additionally, legislative processes and laws seem complicated, intransparent and exhausting. We want to challenge this prejudice, by providing our user base an easy and transparent daily dose of politics. By doing so, we strongly advocate for an open knowledge and open source philosophy.

Therefore, we founded FollowTheVote, a digital political education tool that starts off as a Voting Advice Application for this year´s federal elections in Germany but will continue to provide transparent, factual and objective political information to the youth. We urge for a better understanding and inclusion of our generation and we strive to make politics fit the 21st century and the digital space.

Where is the finish line though?

In the very first sprint week, we defined several milestones for our project:

  1. Signing and finalizing a big funding agreement with the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy – Check
  2. New holistic and eye catching branding of our product – Check
  3. Launching the App on the 5th August 2021. – Check 
  4. Starting our marketing campaign – Check

There are many more milestones to come. We keep you updated on LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok


UNLOCK 2021 Project Follow The Vote – Mobile mockup

How many kilometers more to run?

It does not matter. We are trained to run wherever and for how long we have to because what empowers us to do so is our team. During the last couple of weeks, not only has the FollowTheVote core team grown closely together, but the whole team of volunteers did so as well. We at FollowTheVote are a project that benefits from around 20 volunteers, our different skills, interests and efforts. What we share is our vision for a better society, in a functioning and sustainable democracy that is ready to take on the 21st century. With the help of donations, more team members joining and more tools to be implemented into the app we will meet upcoming milestones just as we have done it before. Looking at our entire team, we have no doubt that we are capable of running an Iron (Wo)Man as well!

If you are interested in what we do or if you need some guidance on where you stand on German politics, just download the App (As a WebApp, in the App Store IOs and in the Google Play Store) and #FollowTheVote!