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Voters’ register

For Bundestag and European elections, municipal authorities maintain registers of the people who are eligible to vote. The voters' register defines the group of persons formally entitled to vote on the basis of the residents' register maintained by the municipal authority. When the voters' register is compiled, people entitled to vote who hold German citizenship will ex officio be entered in the voters' register only if they were registered with the residents' registration office on the 42nd day before election. In European elections, this also applies to Union citizens entitled to vote and registered with the residents' registration office who, upon application, were entered in a voters’ register for the European election of 13 June 1999 or for a later election. Persons eligible to vote with a new abode in the electoral area or moving house who register with the residents' registration office after the 42nd and before the 21st day before election will be entered in the voters' register of their new place of residence only upon application. Persons entitled to vote who are not on the residents’ register (for instance Germans abroad, homeless persons) will also be entered in the voters’ register if they have filed an application for entry until the 21st day before election.  

Anyone on a voters’ register must have received a voter’s notification from the municipal authority no later than the 21st day before election. Those who have not received a voter's notification by then should contact their municipal authority without delay.  

All those entitled to vote have the right to verify that their data in the voters’ register are correct and complete. They may consult the voters' register for that purpose on the workdays from the 20th to the 16th day before election during normal opening hours. Persons entitled to vote have the right to consult the voters' register to check the data of other persons on the register only if they can produce facts suggesting that the voters’ register may be incorrect or incomplete. The right to consult the voters' register does not apply to data of persons entitled to vote against whose names restriction notes have been entered in the residents' register in accordance with Section 51 subsection (1) of the Federal Registration Act. Anyone who deems the voters’ register incorrect or incomplete may file an objection with the municipal authority during the public display period.  

If a person has been wrongfully omitted from the voters’ register and if an amendment is not possible anymore, he or she will receive a polling card on application.  

Persons eligible to vote who have by mistake been entered in several voters’ registers, for example due to their moving house shortly before the election, may exercise their right to vote only once.

Legal bases

Bundestag election:

Section 14 (4) of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)
Section 17 of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)
Sections 14 to 24 of the Federal Electoral Regulations (BWO)

European election:

Section 6 (4) of the European Elections Act (EuWG)
Section 4 of the European Elections Act
  in conjunction with Section 17 of the Federal Elections Act
Sections 14 to 18 of the European Electoral Regulations (EuWO)

Last update: 1 June 2018