What is the open voting system

The electoral system

The German Bundestag is elected according to the principles of proportional representation linked to the election of persons. This is also called personalized proportional representation. The voter has two votes.

voices

Every voter has two votes: The constituency member is elected by direct election with the first vote. It is cast on the left half of the voting slip. With the second vote, which is given on the right half of the ballot, you choose the country list of a party.

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Since the 2nd federal election in 1953, voters have had two votes: a first vote for the election of a constituency member and a second vote for the election of a state list. For historical reasons one wanted to counter the fragmentation of the party and therefore no longer use a pure proportional representation. The decisive element for the composition of the German Bundestag in the chosen mixed system - due to the inclusion of direct mandates - is the proportional representation.

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The state lists of parties are so-called closed lists because the order of the applicants was determined by the parties by election and cannot be changed.

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Determination of results

The preliminary election result of the Bundestag election is determined by the electoral bodies immediately after the election and passed on as quickly as possible (as a so-called quick report) to the electoral body of the next administrative level.

In the first step, the ballot papers are counted in the polling stations and the election results for the electoral districts are determined. The election boards provide the numbers

  • of eligible voters,
  • of voters,
  • the valid and invalid first votes,
  • the valid and invalid second votes,
  • the valid first votes cast for the individual applicants and
  • the valid second votes cast for the individual state lists

firmly. As soon as the election result in the electoral district has been determined, the electoral officer announces the election result with the specified information and reports it to the local authority, which summarizes the election results of their electoral districts and communicates them to the district election management.

The district election management determines the provisional election result in the constituency according to the quick reports of the municipal authorities and informs the provincial election management as soon as possible, taking into account the results of the postal vote; it is stated which applicant can be considered elected.

The federal returning officer reports the incoming constituency results immediately and continuously to the federal returning officer. In addition, the regional return office determines the provisional numerical election result in the state based on the quick reports from the district return office and reports it to the federal returning officer as quickly as possible.

The Federal Returning Officer determines the provisional election result in the electoral area in accordance with the legal requirements based on the quick reports from the regional returning officers.

Legal bases

§§ 37 ff. BWG
§§ 67 ff., § 71 BWO

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The secretary of the Electoral board the election record. All counting steps up to the determination of the election result are recorded in this according to a certain model (see Annex 29 to the Federal Electoral Regulations - BWO). The minutes are to be approved and signed by the members of the electoral committee. Then each electoral officer has to hand over the minutes with attachments to the municipal authority. This in turn forwards the election records of their electoral boards bundled together to the district election management as quickly as possible.

The District election line checks the election records of the electoral boards for completeness and correctness. The results will be the District Electoral Committee submitted. This then determines the election result of the constituency and provides the numbers

  • of eligible voters,
  • of voters,
  • the valid and invalid first and second votes,
  • the valid first votes cast for the individual applicants,
  • of the valid second votes cast for the individual state lists.

The district electoral committee can correct the electoral board's findings, for example by deciding differently on the validity of individual votes. He finally determines which applicant has been elected in the constituency and announces these results orally.

Minutes are also made of the meeting of the district electoral committees, which must be signed by all those involved. This will be sent as quickly as possible to the regional election management and to the federal returning officer with a compilation of the election results according to a specific template (Annex 30 to the BWO).

The State Returning Office checks the electoral records of the district electoral committees. Then the final election results of the individual constituencies are compiled and the State Electoral Committee submitted. The state election committee determines the second vote result in the state and makes the following determinations:

  • the number of eligible voters
  • the number of voters
  • the numbers of valid and invalid second votes
  • the number of valid second votes cast for the individual state lists
  • in the case of section 6 (1) sentence 2 of the Federal Election Act (BWG), the numbers of the second votes to be taken into account for the distribution of seats in the individual state lists (so-called adjusted numbers).

If necessary, the state electoral committee corrects the findings of the electoral boards or the district electoral committees arithmetically. The documents are forwarded to the Federal Returning Officer with the minutes of the meeting in accordance with Annex 33 of the BWO.

The Federal Returning Officer checks the election records of the state election committees and determines on this basis

  • the number of second votes on the state lists of each party,
  • the total number of valid second votes cast in the electoral area,
  • the percentage of the votes of the individual parties in the electoral area in relation to the total number of valid second votes,
  • the number of constituency seats won by the individual parties in the electoral area,
  • the adjusted number of second votes of the state lists and each party,
  • the number of successful constituency applicants who are to be deducted from the total number of MPs in accordance with Section 6 (1) sentence 3 BWG,
  • the number of seats to be allocated to the countries in the first distribution according to the proportion of population based on the last official population figures.

After reporting by the Federal Returning Officer, the Federal Electoral Committee the overall result of the state list election and determines for the entire electoral area:

  • the number of eligible voters,
  • the number of voters,
  • the numbers of valid and invalid second votes,
  • the number of valid second votes attributable to the individual parties,
  • the parties that, according to Section 6 (3) of the Federal Election Act
    • participate in the distribution of the list seats,
    • are not taken into account in the distribution of the list seats,
  • the adjusted numbers of the second votes allotted to the individual parties,
  • the number of seats allocated to the individual parties and state lists,
  • which country list applicants have been elected.

The Federal Returning Officer can make arithmetical corrections to the findings of the state election committees.

As soon as the determinations of all electoral committees have been concluded, the district election officers publicly announce the final result for the constituency, the state election officers for the respective state and the federal returning officer for the entire electoral area.

Legal bases

§§ 37 ff. BWG
§ 72, §§ 76 - 79 BWO

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Distribution of seats

The distribution of seats is based on the Sainte-Laguë / Schepers calculation method.

In this process, also known as the divisor method with standard rounding, for example the respective numbers of second votes for the individual parties are divided by a common divisor. By default, the resulting quotients are rounded to the number of seats, that is, in the case of a fraction remainder of more or less than 0.5, it is rounded up or down; with a remainder of exactly 0.5, the lot decides if there are several possible seat allocations. The divisor is determined in such a way that the total number of seats corresponds to the total number of mandates to be awarded.

There are three different methods of calculation, the results of which are mathematically the same:

  • the maximum payment method,
  • the rank measure method and
  • the iterative process.

When introducing the procedure for the allocation of seats, which was first used for elections to the German Bundestag in 2009, the legislature opted for the iterative procedure.

In the iterative method, an approximate allocation is calculated in the first step, for example by dividing the total number of all votes to be taken into account by the total number of seats to be allocated and in this way determining a preliminary allocation divisor. Any remaining discrepancies are reduced in the following steps by increasing or decreasing the allocation divisor until the final allocation is reached, in which the seat allocation corresponds to the number of seats to be allocated.

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