Second vote

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In the election to the German Bundestag, the second vote is the fundamentally decisive vote for the distribution of seats to the parties . With it, the voter chooses a party whose candidates are compiled on a state list . In addition to the second vote, the voter can cast a first vote with which he elects an applicant in the constituency. The validity of the second vote remains unaffected by a possible invalidity of the first vote ( § 39 BWahlG ).

In some German state electoral systems, the vote corresponding to the second vote is referred to as a list vote (Saxony) or state vote (Thuringia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse).


The system of two votes has existed in Germany since 1953. The changeover to personalized proportional representation with first and second votes took place together with the introduction of the nationwide five percent hurdle for the second federal election in 1953 ( Federal Election Act of June 25, 1953). The distribution of seats has been based on the Hare-Niemeyer procedure since the federal election in 1987 . Following a change in the law passed in January 2008, the distribution of seats will in future be based on the Sainte-Laguë / Schepers procedure .

Distribution to mandates

All at least 598 proportional representation mandates are distributed according to their nationwide number of second votes to the parties that collect at least 5 percent of the valid second votes nationwide (see threshold clause ) or win at least three direct mandates ( basic mandate , direct mandate or alternative clause ).

The proportion of Bundestag seats of a party thus roughly corresponds to its proportion of the votes received. The threshold clause creates distortions. Pursuant to Section 6 (1) sentence 2 of the Federal Electoral Act , the second votes of those voters who voted with their first vote for a successful applicant who was either not nominated by a party that is also running with a state list or (this only applies) are not taken into account for the distribution of seats since 2011) was set up by a party that failed because of the threshold clause. This regulation is intended to prevent these voters from exerting a double influence on the composition of the German Bundestag .

Election statistics

Since the first and second votes are cast on a single ballot in Bundestag elections, voting behavior with regard to a separate allocation of first and second votes is accessible for evaluations within the framework of the general election statistics. In the 2013 federal election , 89.8% of the CDU's second-vote voters also gave it the first vote. The corresponding figure for the SPD was 84.1% and for the CSU 92.3%. Vote splitting is more common among the smaller parties because they are generally not expected to achieve the mandate-relevant first majority in their constituency. Nevertheless, 69.2 percent of the left-wing second-vote voters also voted for this party with the first vote, 51.4% for the Greens and 27.4% for the FDP.

The first vote by second vote voters of the smaller parties can be influenced by the person of the direct candidate, but also by secondary party sympathies. It is significant for the FDP that its second-vote voters during the social-liberal coalition supported the SPD direct candidates with the first vote to 29.9% (1976) and 35.5% (1980) in the first election after the coalition change in 1983 58.3% of the CDU / CSU candidates and the value in the subsequent elections showed high fluctuations. In the 2013 federal election it was 63.1%. The second-vote voters of the Greens gave their first vote to the SPD to 34.4%, those of the Left to 15.7%.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Second voice  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

supporting documents

  1. Information from the Federal Returning Officer : Election to the 18th German Bundestag on September 22, 2013 ( Memento from February 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), Issue 4 of the election statistics, p. 24.