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Validity of the election

The decision on the validity of elections to the German Bundestag and elections of the Members of the European Parliament from the Federal Republic of Germany shall be taken by the German Bundestag in the scrutiny procedure. The Land returning officers and the Federal Returning Officer shall examine whether the election has been conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Elections Act and the Federal Electoral Regulations or the European Elections Act and the European Electoral Regulations. They shall decide, in accordance with the result of their scrutiny, whether an objection to the election must be lodged.

A frequently asked question is whether the voter turnout has any influence on the validity of an election. That is not the case. Only by way of contestation in keeping with Section 49 of the Federal Elections Act or Section 26 of the European Elections Act may an election be annulled either entirely or in part on account of election errors. However, if a person entitled to vote decides on his or her own free will not to go to the polls, this is not an election error which might be contested. An election is therefore valid even if the voter turnout was very low, provided that this was not due to any contestable reasons and that parliament has been correctly composed of the persons elected on the basis of the established election result.

There are no absolute material reasons for an election being invalid.

Legal bases

Bundestag election:

Section 49 of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)
Section 81 of the Federal Electoral Regulations (BWO)
Law on the Scrutiny of Elections (WPrüfG)

European election:

Section 26 of the European Elections Act (EuWG)
Section 74 of the European Electoral Regulations (EuWO)
Law on the Scrutiny of Elections (WPrüfG)

Last update: 1 January 2015