Press release no. 24/21 of August 12, 2021

Background information on the 2021 Bundestag Election: participation of seafarers and soldiers

WIESBADEN – Seafarers at sea and soldiers on operations abroad should apply early for their postal voting documents. The Federal Returning Officer recommends to file the applications soon: “You should not wait for the voters’ notification to arrive. You can apply right now for a polling card to be sent to you.” The municipal authorities will send out the postal voting documents about five to six weeks before the election.

Seafarers at sea should have their postal voting documents delivered to them by ship through the respective shipping company. Most shipping companies have a well-functioning system for delivering such mail by ship and organising the return of the ballot letters (by airmail), for instance through their agents in ports all over the world.

Unfortunately, it cannot be ruled out that in individual cases it may not be possible to deliver and return the ballot letters in time, for example when ships call at unsafe ports.

Soldiers on operations abroad have to file an application to vote by post with the municipality of their registered main place of residence. Many municipalities provide online access for this purpose. In their applications to the municipalities, soldiers should indicate contingent addresses where mail destined for the operating areas is handed over to the German Federal Armed Forces. Then the Federal Armed Forces will be responsible for transporting the mail to the operating areas and back to Germany. The Länder ministries of the interior urge the municipalities to process the applications of Federal Armed Forces personnel on operations abroad with priority.


Press office
tel: +49 611 75-3444