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Ballot paper envelope

The ballot paper envelope is the envelope into which the ballot paper has to be put in the postal ballot. Until the 1998 Bundestag Election and the 1999 European Election this had to be done also in the ballot-box poll. Since the 2002 Bundestag Election and the 2004 European Election, official ballot paper envelopes have not been used anymore in the ballot-box poll.

The ballot paper envelope for the postal ballot is blue; the size is standard German C6. It is officially produced under the authority of the government according to the specimen at Annex 10 to the Federal Electoral Regulations or the specimen at Annex 9 to the European Electoral Regulations.

In the ballot-box poll, the voter must fold the ballot paper in the polling booth after marking it. To ensure the secrecy of the ballot, the ballot paper must be folded in a way which does not allow for the making to be seen. The voter shall then put the ballot paper thus folded into the ballot box.

The electoral board must turn the voter away if he or she has

  • marked or folded the ballot paper outside the polling booth or
  • folded the ballot paper in a way allowing other persons to see how he or she has voted or has put a visible sign on the ballot paper that evidently endangers the secrecy of the ballot. 

Casting their votes has become easier for the voters without ballot paper envelopes having to be used, the votes cast can be counted more rapidly and the municipalities save the costs of the envelopes.

Legal bases

Bundestag election: 

Section 28 (3), Section 45 (3) of the Federal Electoral Regulations (BWO)

European election:

Section 27 (3), Section 38 (3) of the European Electoral Regulations (EuWO)

Last update: 1 August 2015