The internet has often been hailed as an opportunity for democracy. Political parties especially have high hopes for the new possibilities for communication and participation. But the digital divide still mediates the access to, use of, and benefits derived from use of the internet. These online inequalities are a problem when combined with democratic processes: If equal opportunity to participate is the goal, how can an unequal tool be beneficial?
The Green Party Germany is convinced that online participation processes are an opportunity to engage more and different members in their discussion and decision-making processes. I went along with the parties' introduction of their new tools - for authentication, polls and petitions - through a combination of interviews, observations and surveys. In this talk I will discuss the expectations of party members and leaders, as well as the intentions to use the new tools. Comparing these shows that there is a big difference between expectations and expectable outcomes. This leads to problems, but also opportunities, both for the Green Party, and political parties overall.