Berlin — German election officials expect mail ballots to break records in the federal elections on Sunday. At least 40%, and in some cases the majority, of ballots will be delivered by mail, according to Georg Tyr, head of the ballot counting agency.
Actual tally is only available after the vote is over, but authorities have seen increasing demand for mail ballots this year as the pandemic fuels anxiety over crowded polling stations.
Voting by mail has been allowed in Germany for over 60 years. In the 1957 elections, only 5 percent of voters used this option when it was first approved. In the final federal elections of 2017, 29% chose to mail at their option. Voting counters have been set up this year to handle the doubling of that number (about 60 percent), Thiel said.
The German postal service is one of the fastest and most reliable in the world, and letters are usually delivered anywhere in the country within a day. Still, the official warned voters last week that if they wanted to count ballots, they should be mailed by Thursday. Only ballots received by 6 pm on Sunday (when voting ends) will be counted.
Populist Choice Party for Germany, partly obscuring the claims of former President Donald J. Trump’s manipulated mail ballot in the United States, uses slogans such as “The mailbox is not a ballot box.” I tried to discourage voters from using ballot boxes. option. But those concerns don’t seem to resonate with voters.