Press release no. 32/21 of August 31, 2021

2021 Bundestag Election: persons entitled to vote who lost their accommodation during the flood disaster of 14 and 15 July 2021

WIESBADEN – During the flood disaster on 14 and 15 July 2021, many persons eligible to vote in Rheinland-Pfalz and Nordrhein-Westfalen lost their accommodation and have therefore been staying with relatives or friends or been housed in emergency accommodation. Many of these people will not have the chance to return to their former places of residence until election day, 26 September 2021. Nonetheless, they can cast their vote in the Bundestag Election. “Thanks to the commitment of the Land returning officers in cooperation with the given municipal authorities, practical solutions have been found to ensure the proper conduct of the election in the regions hit by the flooding, despite the partly destroyed infrastructure,” said Federal Returning Officer Dr. Georg Thiel at a press conference held in Berlin today.

Wherever you stay at present, please note the following:

  1. Persons concerned must be entered in the voters’ register and are entitled to vote in the place where they were registered with a residents’ registration office on the 42nd day before election, that is, on 15 August 2021. In general, this would be the previous place of residence in the disaster zone, unless a person registered in the new temporary place of residence until 14 August 2021.
  1. Thus the persons concerned can cast their first and second vote for a candidate of the respective constituency and the Land list at the relevant polling station in their previous place of residence on 26 September 2021 during the polling hours.

They can cast their vote in the new temporary place of residence only if they have registered in this municipality and applied explicitly for entry in the voters’ register there until 5 September 2021.

If they have not registered in the temporary place of residence, sending in their votes for the Bundestag Election by postal ballot will be easiest for them. To do so, they must apply for postal voting documents (polling card with ballot paper and envelopes) to the municipal authority of the previous place of residence.
While on principle persons eligible to vote “automatically” receive the voter’s notification including an application form for postal voting from the municipal authority where they are registered and listed in the voters’ register, this is not the case regarding some of the people affected by the disaster. The municipal authorities in the disaster zones often do not know the current places of residence of the persons concerned so that the documents cannot be delivered to them.

Without having received a voter's notification, the people concerned must therefore apply for a polling card to be issued for postal voting to the municipal authority of their previous place of residence. They can informally apply for a polling card either in writing or in person – also by sending an e-mail or using other documented electronic means. However, filing an application by telephone is not possible.

Applicants must indicate their family name, forenames, date of birth and current address (street, house number, post code, place).

Anyone filing (also) the application on behalf of another person must add a written authorisation of this person.

  1. The polling card and postal ballot documents may be applied for until 24 September, 6 p.m. However, the application should be filed much earlier to allow for the mail delivery times to be considered when sending the polling card and postal voting documents to the current address. The application for the polling card and postal ballot documents should therefore be sent to the municipal authority in the disaster zone immediately. Although the municipal authorities there are again able to work, their capacity to bear the relevant burden has reached its limit.

Having received the postal ballot documents, the persons concerned should return their ballot letter (ballot paper and polling card with affirmation in lieu of an oath) immediately to the indicated address to allow for longer mail delivery times due to the consequences of the flood disaster. The ballot letter must have been returned until election day, 26 September 2021, 6 p.m.

Persons applying for the polling card for postal voting personally at the relevant municipal authority may cast their votes there and then so that mail delivery times can be avoided.


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