Also the German Bundestag wants to digitize. On the certainly rocky, possibly also agonizing way to get there, one now comes across a piece of paper in a Bundestag canteen. It is a ballot paper which, in all its analogue beauty, is based on the ballot papers for federal elections. “You have a vote” is written there in black on yellowish. A name for the new “eAkte mascot” is being sought – in an exemplary democratic manner.
This is remarkable in two respects. First: The digitalization of German parliamentary activity seems to have progressed so far in 2022 AD that there is already a mascot for it. Second: Finding a name is obviously more difficult than expected. Because the mascot, a bottle-green chameleon with round, bulging eyes, gave the “Newsletter for the eAkte project of the administration of the German Bundestag” an exclusive interview in August 2021, in which it says: “We’ll definitely get the name right very quickly .”
It is well known that speed is a relative factor in local administration offices. And especially in the field of mascots, one is certainly well advised to think too much rather than too little. In hindsight, Fifa would certainly have liked to do that before they let go of the pantsless lion “Goleo” at the 2006 World Cup.
In any case, the month-long naming process in the Bundestag administration has produced twelve concrete proposals, which are now to be voted on together with the reasons for the baptism. Among them: “Emanuel Akte – short E. Akte”, “Documaeleon – the document chameleon”, “Easy – derived from E-Akte-SYSTEM” or “Eumel – without reason”.
When asked by the Bundestag, it was initially not possible to find out how long the polling stations were open and who was actually entitled to vote. In response to the question: “Does eAkte really need a mascot?”, the chameleon already gave the plausible answer in his interview: “Of course, why not!?”
1,600 fax machines in the Bundestag are decommissioned
Any form of malice would certainly be out of place here, because it can hardly be disputed that the Bundestag administration is just daring to take decisive steps towards the working conditions of the 21st century – and is thus playing a pioneering role in the administrative jungle. The switch to electronic file management is one of the biggest changes in parliamentary operations since the Bundestag moved from Bonn to Berlin. “At that time, 11,000 meters of paper files had to be moved,” says a company statement from July of this year.
In this context, it is also worth mentioning the decision made in January 2021 to gradually phase out the approximately 1,600 Bundestag fax machines. Finally, on the way to the future, it would still have to be clarified what should happen to the astonishing number of telephone booths in the Reichstag building, which it was thought would still have to be installed when the move to Berlin took place. For now, they could be used as voting booths for mascot voting.