Votes must be cast by the person entitled to vote in person and in secret in compliance with the principles of electoral law. An official ballot paper is required for voting. This is issued by the competent election board. The vote may be cast on election day before an electoral authority (i.e. at an election station or before a mobile electoral board) or by postal voting upon receipt of the voting card (without the presence of an electoral board). 

Physically disabled, sensory disabled or cognitively disabled people who cannot reasonably be expected to fill in the official ballot paper without assistance are permitted to be assisted in casting their vote by a person of their choice. However, they must be able to confirm the accompanying person to the Chief Electoral Officer. In case of doubt, the local electoral authority must decide on the admission of an accompanying person by means of an appropriate vote and a corresponding note must be made in the minutes. 

Blind or severely visually impaired voters can use ballot paper templates to fill in the ballot paper without assistance. All electoral authorities have a sufficient number of such templates. 

In many elections, it is also possible to cast a preferential vote: This allows the voter to highlight a candidate by entering the name or line-up number of a candidate on the chosen party list (in certain elections, if a candidate's name is on the ballot paper, by ticking the box) and, if the number of votes is high enough, to reorder candidates on the ballot paper. 

Legal basis 

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 3 May 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of the Interior