Preferential voting during elections to the European Parliament

It is possible to indicate a preferential vote during elections to the European Parliament. In order to be valid, the preferential vote must be given to a candidate of the party that was indicated on the ballot paper.

A candidate’s name or ranking number must be entered in the space provided on the ballot paper. The preferential vote is valid if at least the surname of the candidate or the ranking number has been provided. The ranking number should always be provided if there are several candidates with the same surname in a party list.

The preferential vote is always invalid if:

  • a number of candidates have been indicated;
  • or the candidate listed does not belong to the party selected by the voter.

In order to be ranked, 5 percent of the voters for a party must have given their preferential vote to a candidate.

Below you will find a sample ballot paper for elections to the European Parliament with instructions on how to fill it out correctly:

Amtlicher Stimmzettel - Ausfüllhilfe

Legal basis

Section 63 of the Europawahlordnung

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 6 March 2023

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of the Interior