Press release no. 34/21 of September 6, 2021

2021 Bundestag Election: voters should apply now for a postal vote

WIESBADEN – There is the option to vote by post in the 2021 Bundestag election. Applications for postal voting should be filed as soon as possible to make sure that the required documents are received in time.

Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel firmly counters attempts to fuel doubts about postal voting being a secure option. “It has been possible to vote by post since 1957, and the legislators have taken various precautions against the abuse of postal voting. In addition to that, every citizen has the right to be present when the votes are counted. Such transparency is an essential prerequisite for the results of democratic elections being accepted. Postal voting is an important instrument especially in pandemic times as it enables a high voter turnout.”

Those wishing to cast their votes by postal ballot in the forthcoming Bundestag election have to apply to their municipal authority in writing or verbally (personally) for a polling card to be issued. It is also possible to apply by e-mail, but not over the telephone. Many municipalities also offer online application forms on their websites. If the voter’s notification includes a relevant QR code, this can also be used for the application. 
Anyone filing the application on behalf of another person must present a written proxy. On the back of the voter’s notification, which should have been received by all persons entitled to vote who are listed in a voters’ register, there is a form with which to apply for a polling card and postal ballot documents.

A polling card and the documents required for postal voting may be applied for until Friday before the election, that is 24 September 2021, 6 p.m. In exceptional cases (e.g. provable sudden illness) this can be done until election day, 26 September 2021, 3 p.m. Those who personally deliver their application at the electoral office will be given the postal voting documents immediately and may cast their votes there and then.

The completed postal voting documents in the official red return envelope have to be received at the authority indicated on the envelope by election day, 26 September 2021, 6 p.m., at the latest. Ballot letters received later will not be considered in the counting of votes. To make sure the postal ballot letter is received in time, it should be posted in Germany on the third working day before the election at the latest, that is on 23 September 2021. Postal voters may also deliver the postal ballot letter personally to the address indicated on the official return envelope or have it handed in by another person. In postal ballot, the voter bears the risk of the ballot letter not arriving in time.

The right to vote must be exercised personally and secretly also when the vote is cast by postal ballot. Voters who are unable to read or cannot mark the ballot paper, fold it, place it in the envelope or post the postal ballot letter themselves because of a physical impairment may ask another person for help, provided that certain requirements are met which are stated on the polling card and in the leaflet informing about the postal ballot.

For further information on the postal ballot please refer to the information leaflet which comes with the postal voting documents or to the website of the Federal Returning Officer.


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