Frequently asked questions

Voting by postal ballot is simple, secure and easy. Every eligible person in Germany can cast their vote by mail before the election instead of going to a polling station on the day of the election.

We answer the most frequently asked questions about postal voting here.

An open source project by Mehr Demokratie. 2023

Answers to the most important questions

Who can apply for a postal vote? Any person who is eligible to vote may vote by postal ballot instead of in person at the polling station without giving a reason.
What are the deadlines? Postal voting documents can be applied for as of now. The Federal Election Commissioner even recommends applying for the postal vote as early as possible and not waiting until the election notification has arrived. As long as the election letter with the vote cast is received in time for election day, the vote will be counted. At the latest, the election letter should be posted on the third working day before the election - i.e. Thursday, 23 September 2021.
When can I expect the documents? The documents are usually sent a few working days after your application has been received by the electoral office.
Do I have to pay postage for the election letter? No, within Germany election letters are delivered free of charge by Deutsche Post.
I will not be at my registered address. Can I have the documents sent to another address? This is possible without any problems. However, the application for postal voting documents must contain the registration address in any case. It can be stated that the documents are to be sent to another address.
Do I have to wait for the election notification? No, you don't have to, even though some online portals of the municipalities or Länder require the election notification for an online application for postal voting documents because they ask for the electoral roll number printed there. However, the informal application by e-mail to the electoral office of the main residence with the personal details is sufficient.
Can I still vote at the polling station if I do not send the documents in time? If the voting documents have not yet been filled in, the ballot paper sent to you can also be handed in at the polling station - but only at the polling station assigned in the election notification.
Can I also post the ballot paper directly at the electoral office? This is possible and makes sense if the absentee ballot papers are only filled in the day before or on the day of the election. The letter must be received by the electoral office by the time the polling stations close.
What happens after I apply for an absentee ballot? The postal voting documents will be sent to the address provided within a few working days. Instructions on how to fill in the postal voting documents are available on the website of the Federal Election Commissioner.

An open source project by Mehr Demokratie. 2023