Polling card

Everyone entitled to vote who is listed in the voters’ register will receive a polling card from his or her municipal authority upon application. Since the 2009 European and Bundestag Elections, voters do not have to state an important reason anymore for being absent on election day.

The holder of a polling card has the right to vote at any polling station in his or her district or town not belonging to an administrative district (at European elections) or constituency (at Bundestag elections). Voters also need a polling card to take part in the postal ballot.

Anyone eligible to vote who has not been entered in the voters’ register will also receive a polling card upon request

  • if the voter certifies that through no fault of his or her own he or she has failed to meet the application deadline for entry in the voters’ register (at European and Bundestag elections, for instance as a German living abroad who is no longer registered in Germany, at European elections, also as a Union citizen living in Germany) or has failed to meet the deadline for objections against the voters’ register,
  • if his or her right to participate in the election arose only after the relevant deadlines for application or objection have expired,
  • if his or her right to vote has been established in the course of objection proceedings and this fact has been brought to the knowledge of the municipal authority only after the closing of the voters’ register.
Legal bases

Bundestag election:

Section 17 (2) of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)
Sections 20, 25 to 31, 59, 68 of the Federal Electoral Regulations (BWO)

European election:

Section 4 of the European Elections Act (EuWG) in conjunction with Section 17 (2) of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)
Section 6 (5) of the European Elections Act (EuWG)
Sections 19, 24 to 30, 52, 61 of the European Electoral Regulations (EuWO)

Last update: 13 February 2023