Since August, stricter corona regulations have been in effect especially for unvaccinated people.
Some measures must also be complied with in the 2021 federal election.
Berlin - The general election will take place in less than two weeks. The Chancellor candidates from the Union, SPD and Greens are engaging in an exciting competition. But in addition to the voting decision, there are other important things to consider this election year - the corona rules at the polling station. What rules are there to be observed? And what happens if eligible voters do not want to or cannot comply with them?
(Election data, live ticker, background coverage - all information about the federal election 2021 can be found in our politics newsletter.)
In August, the federal government passed new corona rules, including the 3-G rule for indoor events and catering, as well as in hospitals and nursing homes.
Many eligible voters are now wondering whether this rule also applies in the polling stations for the federal election.
As the Federal Returning Officer informed, however, not only those who have been vaccinated, who have been tested or who have recovered should be allowed to vote on site.
3-G in polling stations?
No test required for the federal election
In order not to exclude those eligible to vote who have not been vaccinated, recovered or tested from voting, the 3G rule should not apply in polling stations. "Unvaccinated people can exercise their right to vote in the polling station, taking the respective hygiene measures into account, or alternatively by postal vote," the Federal Returning Officer clearly writes on his website. This rule should also not apply to election workers and election observers.
However, there are some other hygiene measures against the coronavirus that voters have to be prepared for.
Depending on the federal state, the mask requirement may apply at the polling station.
This is clarified in the respective infection protection regulations of the federal states.
In most federal states, the mask requirement is used, such as in North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg or Bavaria.
The obligation then applies not only in the building, but also in the outside area in front of it.
Children up to six years of age or eligible voters with a certificate are also excluded here.
Mask requirement in polling stations: Mask refusers cannot be excluded across the board
How the polling stations deal with voters who do not want to wear a mask, each electoral committee must decide on site, said Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel.
Since voting is a fundamental right, mask refusers should not be excluded from the election across the board, said the responsible spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of the Interior of the German Press Agency.
The state of Baden-Württemberg, however, announced on its website that it would only allow voters with masks to enter the pub.
In the Infection Protection Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia, it is said that “suitable measures” should also enable those entitled to vote who violate the mask requirement to vote.
Health protection comes first, however, which is why those who refuse to wear a mask can be expelled from the voting area if this endangers other voters.
Corona hygiene measures in polling stations for the federal election
In addition to the mask requirement, voters should adhere to the rules of 1.5 meters.
In smaller polling stations there may also be waiting times, as a maximum number of people can be set for the rooms.
Even if the pens are regularly disinfected on site, the Federal Returning Officer recommends bringing your own pens with you to fill out the voting slip.
Election workers also have to leave their contact details so that they can follow up on possible contacts in the event of an infection.
Voters do not have to provide their details.
Anyone who has Corona or is in quarantine is not allowed to enter the polling station despite the right to vote.
In this case there is the possibility of postal voting, which eligible voters in their community can apply until September 24th.
This also applies to people who, for other reasons, cannot or do not want to vote in person on election day.
If you fall ill at short notice, you can apply for the postal voting documents with a doctor's certificate until 3 p.m. on the day of the election.
However, these must then be handed in to the electoral office by 6 p.m.