Press release no. 44/21 of September 22, 2021

Background information on the 2021 Bundestag Election: representative electoral statistics

WIESBADEN – As in former Bundestag elections, representative electoral statistics will be compiled regarding the election to the 20th German Bundestag on 26 September 2021. Voter turnout and the casting of votes by year-of-birth group and sex will be determined in 2,573 randomly selected polling districts. The data are provided in anonymous form so that the secrecy of the ballot is safeguarded in these polling districts. First results of the representative electoral statistics for the 2021 Bundestag Election are expected to become available in December 2021.

“Representative electoral statistics make it possible to analyse the voting behaviour of registered voters with regard to sex and age structure for the territory of the Federal Republic and the individual Länder in both European and Bundestag elections,” explained Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel. “It is a way to obtain a reliable picture of how various population groups in Germany take part in political life.”

Representative electoral statistics will not be compiled in all polling districts. Instead, using a mathematical-statistical procedure, a random sample of 1,852 districts has been drawn from the approximately 60,000 ballot box districts and a sample of 721 districts from the roughly 25,000 postal ballot districts. The ballot papers used in those polling districts have distinctive characteristics printed on them for women and men and six year-of-birth groups. To determine the voter turnout, the number of people who were entitled to vote and of those who have actually voted will also be analysed on the basis of the voters’ registers, broken down by sex and ten year-of-birth groups.

The secrecy of the ballot is safeguarded by the provisions of the Act on Electoral Statistics. The ballot papers do not contain any personal data but only have anonymous distinctive characteristics printed on them for sex and year-of-birth group. In organisational terms, the counting of the ballot papers is strictly separated from the analysis of the voters’ registers. Also, minimum sizes have been defined for the polling districts selected: there have to be at least 400 registered voters per ballot box district in the 2021 Bundestag Election, and postal ballot districts must have had at least 400 voters each in the last Bundestag election of 2017. In addition, it is not permissible to publish results for the individual polling districts in the sample.

More detailed information on how representative electoral statistics are compiled for the 2021 Bundestag Election is available on the website of the Federal Returning Officer.


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