A. GENERAL INFORMATION
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 on election day,
b) are registered at Deadline date in the Austrian Voter Register/European Voter Register at an Austrian muncipality
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.
B. Registering and staying registered in Austrian Voter Register/European Voter Register
If you, an Austrian citizen, are not registered in the Austrian Voter Register/European Voter Register you must register (voter registration procedure) with a municipality in Austria.
The voter registration application and the instructions on how to fill out the form are available online (however, both pdf-files are in German - please adjust the paper formate on your printer prior to printing the form). The application form can be submitted via Mail, Fax or E-Mail directly to the competend Austrian municipality Office. Please attach documents supporting your connection to the municipality offices in Austria.
Please note: Before relocating your residence abroad, you need to register with a local municipality to remain in their Voter Register/European Voter Register.
Austrian Citizens which have their permanent residence in Austria are automatically entered in the Voter Register. 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 Register. Please submit the Application Form in the case that your name should not be listed in the Voter Register/European Voter Register.
Should you have a permanent residence in Austria and be abroad during elections, you are advised to contact the competent Austrian municiality office upon traveling.
Please not that being listed in the Austrian Voter Register/European Voter Register is only possible for 10 years. You are advised to re-register in time so that you will remain in the Austrian Voter Register/European Voter Register.
C. Competent Austrian Municipality for Voter Registration
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 (in this order) 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.
D. 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." Should you have checked the box "Wahl-Abo", you will receive the absentee ballot automatically.
To order the ballot via phone is not possible! In Writing you can submit the order until the fourth day before election day or, when personal delivery of the ballot to a person authorized by you is possible, until the second day before election day. Apply in person until the second day before election day at 12.00 clock.
As "Austrian Abroad" you are able to request the absentee ballot via the respective Austrian Embassy/Austrian Consulate General. (Additional information for "Austrians abroad")
The dispatch of the absentee ballots begins approximately three weeks before election day.
You can cast your vote immediately after receiving the ballot and do not have to wait until Election Day.
The absentee ballot is a sealable envelope. In the envelope are the official ballot as well as a rubberized envelope and instructions on how to cast your vote . Furthermore, the envelope will contain an informational leaflet. Please note that both envelopes you have received - the small one and the larger one - must be properly closed and sealed.
The cost of the postage are borne by the federal government, regardless of whether you mail the ballot envelope in Austria or abroad.
Abroad, absentee ballots can be dropped of at an Austrian Embassy/Austrian Consulate General in Europe and Switzerland until the sixth day before election day and at an Austrian Embassy/Austrian Consulate General outside the European Economic Area or outside of Switzerland until the ninth day before election day. The ballots will then be forwarded to the competent municipality office in Austria.
Should absentee ballots arrive at a later date than cited above, they will only be forwarded to the competent municipality office in Austria when timely receipt is guaranteed.
The absentee ballot has to be received by the competent municipality office in Austria at 5 pm on election day.
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)