Election observation

The public nature of elections is a principle applying to the election procedure of both Bundestag and European elections. Everybody is entitled to stay in the polling station and watch from the time the electoral board meets in the morning of election day until the decision is finally taken on the election result. Only casting the vote in the polling booth is a secret process. There is no need to register as an election observer. People who are not entitled to vote also have a right of access. However, the electoral board may banish people from the polling station who disturb the proper conduct of the poll.

Larger election observation missions in Germany are conducted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). It sends official election observers to monitor the polls.

The Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) is responsible for selecting election observers from Germany who are deployed abroad.

Public monitoring of the election procedure serves to protect the principles of electoral legislation and is to prevent manipulation of the election.

Legal bases

Bundestag election:

Section 10, Section 31 of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)
Section 54 of the Federal Electoral Regulations (BWO)

European election:

Section 4 of the European Elections Act (EuWG) in conjunction with Section 31 of the Federal Elections Act (BWG), Section 10 of the European Elections Act (EuWG)
Section 47 of the European Electoral Regulations (EuWO)

Last update: 13 February 2023