Wählen wie geht das?

A few weeks before the election, each elector receives an election notice by post.
It contains for example following informations:

  • first name and name
  • number an address of the polling station
  • date of the election day


Everyone has 2 ways to cast his vote:

  • in the polling station
  • by post

For both variants, the voter has 2 votes:

First vote

(Direct candidates of the constituencie)

There are 299 constituencies in Germany.

The constituencies are to approximately include an equally large number of inhabitants.

  •  North-Rhine Westphalia (17.6 m inha-bitants) has the most constituencies (64)
  • Bremen  (0.7 million inhabitants) has only 2 constituencies

The constituencies should comprise approximately the same number of inhabitants.

Each constituency includes about 275,000 inhabitants

Each constituency sends one direct candidate elected according to the majority voting system to the Bundestag (German parliament) (299 direct candidates elected with first vote)

Source: Federal Agency for Civic Education

How is the German parliament composed of?

  1. Direct candidates (first vote) go directly to the Bundestag
  2. Followed by the candidates elected via regional party list (second votes)
  3. Overhang and equalizing mandates ensure that the majority ratios correspond to the share of the second votes.

Second vote

(Candidates of the regional party list)

Is more important than the first vote.

Determines the majority ratios in the Bundestag

If one party has won 25% of the second votes, it gaines 25 % of the Bundestag seats.

The second vote only counts if one party has won at least 5 % of the second votes or directly 3 constituencies.

  • Casting the second vote, a voter makes his decision on a regional party list.
  • This list includes the candidates a party wants to send to the Bundestag
  • The order is important. The candidates above have a better possibility to gain a seat in the parliament.