March 16, 2016:    Every time Adventist Today reports on Adventist participation in national elections, comments are posted by readers who say the event should be ignored and Adventists should not vote. In fact, the church standard on “Community Relationships” in the Church Manual (page 137 in the 2010 Edition) indicates that Adventists are expected to participate in elections in democracies.

APD reported that on Sunday (March 13) in the village of Friedensau near Magdeburg, Germany, which is mainly inhabited by Adventists, the results for the state election in Saxony-Anhalt only 1.1 percent voted for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AFD) party while the largest number of voters (24 percent) in the state went for it. The largest number of voters in Friedensau (42 percent) went to the Christian Democrats (CDU), the dominant center-right party in Germany. Nearly 30 percent of voters in Friedensau cast their ballot for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) which has governed the country since 2013 in a coalition with the CDU and Christian Social Union (CSU). Both the SPD and the CSU are conservative socialist parties. The Green Party received about 11 percent of the vote in Friedensau.

Germany has a parliamentary system at both the national and state levels, and parties must receive at least five percent of the vote in an election in order to have any representatives among the lawmakers in parliament. A few people in Friedensau voted for the small parties that will have no members of parliament: The Free Voters received about three percent, the Alliance for Progress (ALFA) about two per cent, Burgesses Central Germany (FBM) and Animal Welfare Party each only one percent. No one in this Adventist village voted for the right-wing National Democratic Party (NDP) or the marginal Magdeburg Garden Party (MG).

Friedensau was founded in 1899 by the Adventist denomination when it establishing a theological seminary there. It was recognized as a local government entity in 1922. There are now several Adventist institutions in the village; Friedensau University with approximately 200 students, a nursing home with 122 residents, 17 assisted living apartments, a retirement home with 15 barrier-free apartments and a camping site for up to 1,000 young people.

The village currently has about 500 residents and some 300 voted on Sunday, a turnout of more than 64 percent and above the national average, according to the APD. More than 80 of the university students come from other countries and were not eligible to vote.

Yesterday there were party primary elections in five states in the United States. So far, Adventist Today has no information about Adventist participation in these elections. A survey of the view of Adventists in the elections and about public issues is being conducted in collaboration with scholars at Washington Adventist University and Andrews University. If you would like to include your views in this survey click here.

APD is the Adventist news service in Europe.