Local elections and mayoral elections

General information on local elections and mayoral elections

The members of the municipal council or the town hall (in Vorarlberg and Salzburg) are elected by eligible voters in the municipality in question in accordance with voting principlesGerman text and the system of proportional representationGerman text.

The vote for mayor may be decided either:

  • by the municipal council/the town hall/the town council
  • or directly by residents of the municipality

depending on which federal state is involved.

The majority vote systemGerman text applies to mayoral elections. If a candidate does not achieve an absolute majority in the first round of voting, a run-off vote takes place.

Voting is not compulsory.

Voting eligibility

As a rule, the following people are eligible to voteGerman text:

  • all Austrian citizens and non-Austrian EU citizens
  • who have not been disqualified from voting
  • have their primary residence in the municipality in question
  • and are at least 16 years old on the day of the election

In some federal states (e.g. Burgenland, Lower Austria), it suffices, under certain conditions, for the person to have a (normal) residenceGerman text in the municipality in question. In Burgenland, this residence must be the centre of economic, professional, family or social life, with at least two of these criteria needing to be met and evidence needing to be provided. The conditions for such a residence are not met if the stay is only for recreational, curative or holiday purposes or is clearly only temporary for other reasons and if the person is not registeredGerman text in the municipality in accordance with registration requirements. Please familiarise yourself with the voting eligibility requirements in good time on the website of the state government in questionGerman text.

Only eligible voters whose names are included in the closed electoral roll may participate in an election.

You are entitled to view the electoral roll or object to it. Further information can be found under "Registration of eligible voters (electoral register, electoral roll)German text".

Voting in municipal elections is also possible using a voting cardGerman text (for postal votingGerman text or before the locally competent electoral authority). If required, a visit from the special electoral authorityGerman text angefordert werden.

Deadlines and procedures for requesting voting cards and for postal voting may vary from municipality to municipality.

Eligibility to stand as a candidate

As a rule, the following people are eligible to stand as a candidateGerman text:

  • all Austrian citizens and non-Austrian EU citizens,
  • who have not been disqualified from votingGerman text,
  • have their primary residenceGerman text in a municipality of the federal state in question and
  • and are at least 18 years old on the day of the election.

In some federal states (e.g. Burgenland, Lower Austria), it suffices, under certain conditions, for the person to have a (normal) residence or (e.g. in Salzburg) provision is made for certain functions (e.g. mayor) to be reserved for Austrian citizens. Please familiarise yourself with the requirements for standing as a candidate in good time on the website of the state government in questionGerman text.

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 19 February 2021

Responsible for the content: oesterreich.gv.at Editorial Staff

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