Austrian citizens residing abroad have been given the right to cast their votes in national elections, elections to the European Parliament, and national referenda. The following overview should help non-German speaking Austrians to get better informed about their voting rights. In-depth information, however, is only available in German.In order to have his/her vote counted, Austrians residing abroad must:
a) be over the age of 16 at election day,
b) have been registered with an Austrian village or town (solely for election purposes),
c) not be excluded from the right to vote (e.g. while serving a prison term),
d) have both applied for an absentee ballot and received one in time,
e) return the ballot to the election authorities in Austria within a specified time-limit.
A. Voter Registration
If you, an Austrian citizen, do not permanently reside in Austria, you must register (voter registration procedure) with a town or village in Austria in order to have your name added to a local "voter register." If your name is not registered in this "voter register," you can not apply for an absentee ballot and you will not be able to cast your vote.
The voter registration application and the instructions on how to fill out the form are available online (however, both pdf-files are in German). Once you have filled out the application, please send it together with a copy of your valid Austrian passport to either the town/village in Austria or the Consulate General in New York.
Please note: Your voter registration is valid for ten years. If you want to continue to be able to cast your votes in Austrian elections, please renew your registration at least every ten years. The signed application form together with a copy of your valid Austrian passport should be sent either directly to the town/village in Austria or the Consulate General in New York.
B. Absentee Ballot & How to Cast the Vote
Once the elections have been officially announced, each Austrian citizen (as long as he/she is registered) can apply for an absentee ballot. The application for an absentee ballot is to be forwarded (via mail, fax, e-mail, or online) to the Austrian town/village which has entered you into its "voter register." Please note that your application for an absentee ballot must include your name, your date of birth, the number of your valid Austrian passport, and the exact address your ballot should be sent to.
Immediately after having received your absentee ballot, you may actually vote. In any case, you must cast your vote before the last polling station in Austria is scheduled to close (note the time difference - most of the year, Austria is six hours ahead of New York). Please note that both envelopes you have received - the small one and the larger one - must be properly closed and sealed.
It's not necessary that someone must certify your identity anymore. The absentee ballot must directly be returned to the provincial elections commissions in Austria. Your vote will not be counted if the ballot does not arrive there on the eighth day after election day at 2 pm (local Austrian time) at the latest.
Further information (in German) is available on the websites of the
b) Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs
(here, you also find links to the addresses and phone numbers of all Austrian villages, towns, and cities)