Recent elections and referendums have raised the former question about the limits of permissible influence on electoral decisions in a new fashion. In times of personalized social networks, election campaigns are progressively shifting into the digital realm. This development has been amplified by the pandemic. Especially in times of restricted personal contact, election campaigns remain a possibility thanks to digitalization. However, these and other opportunities show only one side of the coin. Smear campaigns using disinformation, the precise and purposeful distribution of fake news on behalf of home and foreign governments, and micro-targeting during electoral campaigns confront the law with unprecedented challenges.
This stands all the more true, as digital election campaigns are still following long established “analogue” rules of campaigning. At present, it is evident that in many ways the current legal framework is no longer adequate for those new challenges. The project takes up the challenge of determining the limits of permissible influence on electoral campaigns in Germany and selected other democratic countries. It also will shed some light on the evolution of the governing rules over. Thus, the change decision-making cultures in modern democracy will be explored with a comparatist approach.