WIESBADEN – As reported by the Federal Returning Officer, information on the right to vote in the possible elections to the 16th German Bundestag for Germans living abroad is now available on the Federal Returning Officer’s website at
under “service for Germans living abroad”.
What is provided there is especially the application form for entry in a register of voters in Germany, which may be downloaded in the pdf format and can be filled in on the PC.
As the application for entry in the register of voters must be signed by the applicant, the entire form completed on the PC has to be printed, signed by the applicant and sent by letter post to the municipality in Germany where he/she was last registered. Transmission by e-mail is not permitted.
Regarding that information, the Federal Returning Officer points to the following:
1. According to the declaration of the Federal Chancellor of 22 May 2005, the 15th German Bundestag might be dissolved by the Federal President, so that early elections might be held possibly in the second half of September this year. For that case, the Federal Returning Officer, as a precaution, gives the following information on the right to vote for Germans living abroad.
That information does in no way anticipate the decision of the Federal President, nor does it permit to draw the conclusion that early elections to the German Bundestag will actually be held.
In the case of early elections, there is not much time for preparing the election. In order to make it easier for Germans living abroad and wishing to cast their vote to meet the deadline for being entered in a register of voters – considering the possibly long mailing times -, the following information and the application form for entry in the register of voters have been provided by the Federal Returning Officer on his website before a possible decision on early elections has been taken by the Federal President.
Applications may be filed now. If the 15th German Bundestag should not be dissolved, applications for entry in a register of voters for a possible early Bundestag election will be invalid.
2. Germans living abroad will be permitted to vote the 16th Bundestag elections provided the following conditions are fulfilled :
2.1 Germans living in a Member State of the Council of Europe are entitled to vote in the Bundestag elections provided that
they are German citizens pursuant to Article 116 of the Basic Law,
they have completed their 18th year of age on the election day ,
they lived in the Federal Republic of Germany permanently for a minimum of three months after 23 May 1949, and
they are not denied the right to vote.
Apart from the Federal Republic of Germany, the following countries are Member States of the Council of Europe at present:
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, Hungary, United Kingdom, and Cyprus.
2.2 Germans residing outside the Member States of the Council of Europe are entitled to vote in the Bundestag elections provided that not more than 25 years have passed since their departure from the Federal Republic of Germany on the election day and that they fulfil the other four requirements specified above under item 2.1.
2.3 Germans residing abroad and complying with the requirements specified under items 2.1 or 2.2 need to have their names entered in due time in the register of voters of their latest home municipality in Germany. To this end, a written application has to be submitted on a special form, while at the same time, the German concerned has to affirm in lieu of an oath that he/she is entitled to vote.
2.4 The application forms for entry in a register of voters for an early election to the 16th German Bundestag are available
for download (pdf file) from the website of the Federal Returning Officer at www.bundeswahlleiter.de under “Service for Germans living abroad”
presumably from mid-July 2005 as paper forms
from all the embassies and consulates of the Federal Republic of Germany,
from the Federal Returning Officer at
Zweigstelle Bonn, Postfach 17 03 77, 53029 Bonn, Germany
tel: (+49-611) 75 85 18
fax: (+49-611) 75 89 77
from the constituency returning officers in Germany.
Together with his/her own application form, an applicant may obtain forms for family members, friends or colleagues at the same time. Firms and associations may request the delivery of the required number of application forms for their staff abroad.
2.5 A German citizen living abroad has to submit his/her own application for entry in the register of voters together with an affirmation in lieu of an oath of his/her right to vote. These documents have to be sent to the municipality where he/she was last registered before leaving the Federal Republic of Germany.
The applications filed on the above forms must arrive at the competent authority in Germany on the 21th day before the election day at the latest. Therefore, the completed application forms should be returned as soon as possible.
2.6 After a German citizen who resides abroad and is eligible to vote has been entered in the register of voters, he/she will be provided with the documents required for postal vote (polling card, ballot paper, voting envelope, ballot-letter envelope, and sheet of notes for postal voters) without further request as soon as is possible with the deadlines that are earlier in the case of early elections to the 16th German Bundestag.
The voter will then have to return in the sealed official ballot-letter envelope
the polling card and the affirmation in lieu of an oath and
the ballot paper in the sealed official voting envelope.
The documents will have to be returned to the authority indicated on the ballot-letter envelope in good time for this authority to receive them at the latest by 6 p.m. on the election day.
2.7 Germans living abroad and wishing to vote in early elections to the 16th Bundestag in Germany should act in due time because of the specific character of the procedure and the possibly long forwarding times for mail. In the foreign press, the German missions abroad provide information about the opportunity for Germans living abroad to vote in the impending elections. Additionally, relatives and friends living in the Federal Republic of Germany and firms in Germany who employ staff abroad should draw the attention of their relatives, friends and staff abroad, respectively, to the opportunity and formalities of voting in an early election to the 16th Bundestag.
Different from previous Bundestag elections, the above procedure will now also apply to persons who, as civil servants, soldiers, public service employees or wage earners, on the election day live outside the Federal Republic of Germany upon order of their employer and to members of their household. It will no longer be necessary for those persons to forward the application for entry in a register of voters through the supreme authority responsible for the applicant, as has been required so far.
4. Please note the following exception to the above procedure:
German citizens who continue to be registered in Germany during their stay abroad will ex officio be entered in the register of voters of their municipality. A person entitled to vote who has been entered in a register of voters may exercise his/her right to vote by postal ballot if – among other reasons – on election day he/she will stay outside his/her polling district for an important reason (e. g. stay abroad). To exercise the right of postal ballot, it is necessary to request in writing or orally that the municipality authority issue a polling card. The requirement of request in writing shall be considered fulfilled in case of telegram, telex, fax, e-mail or other electronic transmission that can be documented. Application by telephone is not permitted.
For further information please contact:
tel: (+49- 611) 75 2345,