How to vote in Berlin as EU expat

von Antonio Rohrßen

First things first, let’s explore who is eligible to vote in Berlin. If you are a EU citizen and your main residence has been registered in Berlin for at least three months, plus you are at least 16 years old, you have the right to vote in district elections (Bezirksverordnetenversammlung or short BVV). Unfortunately, you are not allowed to vote for the city-state election (Abgeordnetenhaus or short AGH). 

District elections are important! Berlin has 12 districts, e.g. Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg or Spandau. Each has the population of a medium-sized city, with the smallest at a quarter million inhabitants. District governments and mayors are elected by the BVV - and you vote for the parties in the BVV. 

Normally the legislative period for BVV and AGH is 5 years. But there were irregularities with the last election in 2021, hence there needs to be a rerun on 12th February 2023.

Step by step tutorial:

1 - Election Notification (Wahlbenachrichtigung)

If you are eligible to vote you should have received your election notification sometime in January. If you didn’t, contact your district office (Bezirksamt). Find a list of all district offices here.

2 - Make your choice 

On your district ballot (BVV Stimmzettel), which has a brownish color, you will find all parties and candidate groups who run for office in your district. E.g. you can find Klimaliste Berlin next to the number 32. If you care about climate and housing justice, this might be the right choice for you (find our full platform here). Select your choice and fold the ballot. 

3 - Hand in your vote 

Option A: Postal vote 

We do not recommend requesting postal vote any more this close to election day. In case you requested to receive the ballots for postal vote /absentee vote, you should have received them by now. 

a) Give your vote on your district ballot (BVV Stimmzettel).

b) Put the folded ballot inside the blue envelope. Seal it.

c) Fill out the ballot note (Wahlschein). Put your address and your signature.

d) Put the blue envelope and the ballot note into the red envelope. Seal it.

e) We recommend you go to one of your district’s postal vote office and deliver the blue envelope personally, if possible before Saturday night. If you go on Sunday, please make sure with your district’s postal vote office (Bezirkswahlamt) where and when to deliver. 

Option B: In-person vote on Sunday

On election day - Sunday 12th February - visit your local polling station (Wahllokal). They are open 8 am - 6 pm (8:00-18:00). We recommend you go there before 4 pm (16:00), because in the 2021 election some polling stations experienced long waiting times. Usually, no voting can take place after 6 pm (18:00).

a) Find your polling station’s address (Wahllokal) on your election notification (Wahlbenachrichtigung). You will also find a number on the election notification, this will help you find the correct station at the address. There may be more than one station in the same address.

b) Bring your election notification and your valid passport or identity card. An election worker will check your identity and hand you the ballot paper.

c) Vote in one of the voting booths. Fold the ballot before you leave the booth. Then put it into the ballot box.

Thank you for your interest and thank you for taking part in the election! We hope this was useful for you, and would be grateful for your feedback or questions. Send us an email anytime.

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