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,
d) have both applied for an absentee ballot and received one in time,
e) return the ballot to the election authorities in Austria either directly or via an Austrian Consulate within a specified time-limit.
A. Voter Registration
If you, an Austrian citizen, do not reside in Austria, you must register (voter registration procedure) with a municipality in Austria in order to have your name added to a local "voter register " (Wählerevidenz in German). 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 submit it with documents supporting your connection to the municipality to its offices in Austria.
Please note: When you relocate your Residence abroad, you need to register with a local municipality to remain in their voter registry.
Austrian Citizens which have their permanent residence in Austria are automatically entered in the voter registry. Austrians living abroad do typically not have a permanent residence in Austria. In case an Austrian living abroad has a "Nebenwohnsitz" in an Austrian town/village, it is important to check if their name is in the local voter registry.
Please note: A voter registration is valid for ten years. If you want to continue to be able to cast your votes in Austrian elections, please renew the registration at least every ten years. The signed application form should be sent directly to the municipality in Austria.
Which municipality should be contacted for a voter registration application ?
The competent municipality is the place of last residence in Austria. If there is no last residence in Austria, then the municipality where at least one of the parents has or had his/her permanent residence should be contacted. Should none of the afore mentioned options apply, then the respective municipality will be established by:
Place of Birth in Austria
Husband/Wife has or had permanent Residence in Austria
Relatives had or have a permanent Residence in Austria
Headquarter of an employer in Austria
Property in Austria
Other relations with Austria
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 to vote) 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 municipality 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.
Although, you have until three days before the election to order the absentee ballot, you have to order the ballot in time, as there is a Deadline.
Immediately after having received your absentee ballot (most of the time about two weeks before election) 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 nine hours ahead of Los Angeles). Please note that both envelopes you have received - the small one and the larger one - must be properly closed and sealed.
Further information (in German) is available on the websites of the
a) Federal Ministry of the Interior
b) The Austrian Foreign Ministry
(here, you also find links to the addresses and phone numbers of all Austrian villages, towns, and cities)