Vote (choice)

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Gerhard Schröder cast his vote on November 19, 1972

Vote (also Votum ; English vote , French vote ) is a counting unit for elections or other votes to determine the election result of people , parties or certain facts or topics .


A vote may only be cast by those entitled to vote or to vote . The right to vote is based on the legal provisions or rules of procedure issued specifically for this purpose . According to Section 107a (1) StGB , anyone who casts an unauthorized vote in the election ( election fraud ) therefore votes unauthorized . This initially includes all cases in which someone has no right to vote . This can be the case if he has not yet reached the voting age or if he has been deprived of the right to vote . Voting in the true art. 38 para. 1 of the Basic Law for members of the German Bundestag established suffrage principle of universal, direct, free, equal and secret ballot for all elections or other votes. Free means that a vote can be cast free from any state or other influence. Secret elections mean that the voting of the person entitled to vote is hidden from the public . This latter principle usually only applies to political elections; other votes are usually open.

As a rule, eligibility to vote depends on age (in the case of political elections) and / or membership of or membership in certain interest groups ( trade union members ) or committees ( election of the Pope ). Votes are cast in political elections (such as for parliaments , parties ), meetings of all kinds ( general meeting , owners' meeting ), events ( Eurovision Song Contest ) or negotiations .

Voting weight and voting

An effective vote can have three voting options, namely approving ("yes"), negative ("no") or containing . Each person entitled to vote generally has one vote, as does the apartment owner in accordance with Section 25 (2) WEG . There are exceptions if it is not the vote that is decisive, but the wealth represented by it . This is the case, for example, if a shareholder represents several shares at the general meeting ; According to Section 134 (1 ) AktG, his voting right then has a weighted significance according to the nominal amount or number of shares. Several different (but equal) votes are also possible in an election (e.g. under German electoral law), then a first vote and a second vote can be cast in an election .

For the purpose of counting, voting can be done with a show of hands , ballot paper or in another form. Voting corresponds to the principle of democracy , whereby relative majorities , simple majorities , qualified majority or absolute majorities can be decisive for the choice of persons, parties or the selection of topics.

In elections with a high number of votes (e.g. in the millions) it is often criticized that a single vote could not have any effect. But that's not true, because every vote in a democracy has the same weight and contributes equally to the overall result. An election result with a high symbolic value for a single vote was shown in the state elections in Carinthia in 2013 : Here, a single vote contributed to the fact that a state parliament mandate has changed more than previously forecast. This resulted in a constitution-amending two-thirds majority in the state parliament, with the help of which it was possible to abolish party proportional representation in the state government in 2017 .

Vote counting

The counting of votes must be organized and is carried out in political elections by election commissions . A distinction must be made between valid and invalid votes; only the former are to be taken into account when counting. Counting errors are the counting of an impermissible (invalid or unauthorized) vote or the non-counting of an acceptable vote. In the case of political elections in particular, there is a large variety of set-off procedures ( majority vote , proportional representation ), some of which are quite complicated ( D'Hondt procedure ) and make it extremely difficult for voters to keep track of what actually happens with their vote. These hinder the transparency that otherwise exists when voting and counting public votes.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Klaus Leipold, Michael Tsambikakis, Mark Alexander Zöller: lawyer commentary on the StGB . 2015, ISBN 978-3-8114-4124-8 , § 107a StGB, Rn. 4 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  2. Werner Niedenführ, Egbert Kümmel, Nicole Vandenhoute: WEG: Commentary and manual on residential property law. 2010, p. 383.
  3. Peter Ibounig, Winfried Valentin, Wilfried Kofler: The state elections on March 3, 2013 - Main results for Carinthia. Office of the Carinthian State Government, State Office for Statistics (Ed.), March 2013, p. 25
  4. BGH , judgment of October 29, 1980, Az. 2 StR 207/80, full text .
  5. ^ Dieter Nohlen: Suffrage and party system . 1986, ISBN 978-3-663-14264-5 , pp. 95 ( limited preview in Google Book search).