In Germany it's possible to vote by letter / mail. So it's possible to show somebody how you voted and send it to the election office.

Does a penalty exist for selling ballots, or for openly offering to sell a vote to somebody?

  • 1
    Vote by mail is possible in a lot of countries, but there are measures against this. For example, in Spain you can go to the polling station and vote in person the election day, that would automatically invalidate your mail vote (these are introduced only after the station is polled, and they are introduced only if the sender is not registered as having voted). Can you check if you can do the same in Germany?
    – SJuan76
    Mar 24, 2016 at 11:53
  • this is a question for law.stackexchange.com
    – Philipp
    Mar 24, 2016 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


Yes, all of this would be very illegal.

According to §107a StGB [German|English] (Falsification of election results), voting in the name of someone else is a crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

According to §108b StGB [German|English] (Bribing voters), selling or buying a vote is also a crime which is penalized with up to 5 years.

Even just showing to someone how you voted can be illegal according to §107c StGB [German|English] (Violation of secrecy of elections) and could get you up to two years in prison. (To clarify as it was asked in a comment: It is of course not illegal to tell someone how you voted, but it is illegal to prove to someone how you voted).

  • Is that really what §107c says? I don't speak German, but at a glance, it looks like the law prohibits any attempts to bypass the shroud of confidentiality which protects other people's ballots (such as by installing a secret camera in the voting booth, or by breaking into the ballot box, for example) but doesn't do anything to prohibit you from voluntarily disclosing your vote, if that's what you want to do.
    – Eikre
    Mar 24, 2016 at 23:06
  • @Eikre I updated the answer with links to an English translation. The law in question is translated as "obtaining for himself or another knowledge as to how a person voted" . The perpetrator themself is also "a person".
    – Philipp
    Mar 24, 2016 at 23:13
  • Well then now I'm quite certain that the statute doesn't have anything to do with prohibiting a voluntarily disclosure; it only enumerates a punishment for defying "provision[s] which serves to protect the secrecy of elections." It does not elaborate on what any of those provisions might be, and certainly doesn't stipulate that you're forbidden from telling somebody else how you voted.
    – Eikre
    Mar 24, 2016 at 23:20
  • 1
    @Eikre For the parliament election, those "provisions" would be the Bundeswahlordnung which has a long paragraph about how to handle mail voting papers which includes, among other things, the provision to fill it out unobserved. Other elections have their own regulations, but they usually have the same or similar rules regarding mail voting.
    – Philipp
    Mar 24, 2016 at 23:29
  • 1
    @Eikre Telling someone how you voted isn't illegal, but only when the other person has no way to prove that you are not lying.
    – Philipp
    Mar 24, 2016 at 23:31

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