All the data, all the facts: The most important figures for the federal election

All the data, all the facts
The most important figures for the federal election

By Martin Morcinek

On September 26, Germany sets the federal political course for the next four years. This time everything seems open: which party will be the strongest force? The most important data, figures and infographics at a glance.

The election date, which heralds the end of the Merkel era, has been set: on Sunday, September 26, 2021, at around 8 a.m., the polling stations across Germany will open to enable residents who are entitled to vote to vote at the ballot box. Together with the votes sent in by the postal voters, they will determine the majority in the 20th German Bundestag by placing a cross on the ballot papers.

Note: Infographics based on survey results will be updated on an ongoing basis until shortly before election day.

According to an estimate by the Federal Statistical Office, around 60.4 million Germans, including 31.2 million women and 29.2 million men, have been called to vote. The number of those entitled to vote is thus probably lower than in the 2017 federal election, as the Federal Returning Officer announced in advance. At that time there were around 61.7 million people eligible to vote. The reason for the decline, it is said, is the demographic development: since 2017, more Germans have died than they have reached the age of majority and have thus reached the voting age.

This has consequences for the average age of voters and the age structure of those eligible to vote. This time, fewer people under the age of 30 and between 40 and 59 will be able to vote than in the 2017 federal election (Children of the ‘baby boomers’) expected “, summarizes the Federal Returning Officer.

“All data, all facts” on the state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania can be found here.

“All data, all facts” on the election to the Berlin House of Representatives can be found here.

Some 2.8 million first-time voters are eligible to vote. “This means that first-time voters have a share of 4.6 percent of all eligible voters,” says the Federal Returning Officer. “The number of first-time voters includes all young Germans who have come of age since the 2017 federal election.” But that also means: In the election for the 20th German Bundestag, millions of people who have never seen anyone other than Angela Merkel in the Chancellery in their political consciousness will be able to cast their vote for the first time.

The birth cohorts in question are in the years 1999 to 2003. The oldest of these first-time voters in 2021 were barely six years old when Merkel became Chancellor in November 2005 and succeeded Gerhard Schröder. The question of whether this generation of young adults is ready for a man as Chancellor should not, however, be of great importance overall: the vast majority of voters are quite familiar with male Chancellors. More than a fifth of those eligible to vote (21.3 percent) are 70 years or older.

The election date, the parliamentary elections and the counting of votes are legally anchored in detail in Germany and are particularly protected. “Every voter has two votes,” explains the Federal Returning Officer: “With the first vote, the constituency member is elected by direct election. It is cast on the left half of the ballot. With the second vote, which is given on the right half of the ballot, one chooses the country list of a party. ” Experts speak of a personalized proportional representation. The direct election with the first vote should counteract a fragmentation of the party landscape, but leads to new problems via the direct and compensation mandates.

The simultaneous voting in a country with more than 83 million inhabitants is like an organizational masterpiece, in which the electoral officers, officials and authorities involved have plenty of experience thanks to regular practice. Different direct candidates are running in each of the 299 German constituencies. Separate ballot papers are therefore printed for each constituency.

Note: On August 29th, the three candidates for chancellor met on RTL / ntv im Triell for the first time in a TV show directly on top of each other.

On these ballot papers, the direct candidates are listed in the left column – for the election with the first vote – and the state lists of the parties in the right column – for the election with the second vote. The order of the party names on the right-hand side of the ballot is based on the number of second votes that the individual parties received in each federal state in the last federal election in 2017. The other parties are listed in alphabetical order. Thus, the order of the parties on the voting slips is uniform within each federal state.

The CDU, for example, takes first place on the list in 13 of the 16 federal states in the 2021 federal elections. Only in Bremen does the SPD come first, in Saxony the AfD and in Bavaria the CSU.

The second place on the list is occupied by the SPD (Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Saarland) and the AfD (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony) in four states -Anhalt and Thuringia) and in two countries the CDU (Bremen and Saxony). Only in Berlin is the left in second place on the list.

The left appears in third place in six countries: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Bremen, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Thuringia and Saarland. The AfD and the FDP take over the position in three countries each (AfD in Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria, FDP in Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia).

The SPD and Greens rank third in two countries each (SPD in Brandenburg and Berlin, Greens in Hamburg and Baden-Württemberg). The other places follow this scheme, the decisive factor for the positioning is the performance in the 2017 election at the state level.

In the left column of the ballot, the names of the direct candidates are listed in the order of the state lists. This is followed in alphabetical order by the direct candidates from parties without state lists and from groups of voters or individual applicants who have been admitted to the respective constituency.

Note: You can find more information, interviews, analyzes and background information on the federal election here at

Votes from abroad also flow into the result of the Bundestag election. These are the votes of so-called Germans abroad, i.e. citizens of eligible age who are not registered in Germany. These include not only seafarers on merchant ships, researchers in the Antarctic and soldiers, but also thousands of professionals who live abroad on behalf of their employers, as well as retirees who spend their retirement years in sunnier climes.

However, only those who are officially registered in an electoral roll are allowed to vote. Germans abroad must therefore submit a written application for entry in the electoral roll before each election, as emphasized by the Federal Returning Officer. The application must be received by the responsible municipality in Germany no later than the 21st day before the election. For the federal election in 2021, this time ends on September 5th.

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