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Voting in legislative elections 2018

Published Wednesday July 18 2018

In Luxembourg, legislative elections (‘Chamberwahlen’) are held to elect the 60 deputies who make up the Chamber of Deputies (the national Parliament). The usual length of their term is 5 years.

Deputies are elected directly by the nation, without intermediaries, by universal suffrage.

Who is concerned

While non-Luxembourgish European citizens may vote in communal and European elections, only Luxembourgish citizens may vote in the legislative elections.

Luxembourgish citizens residing abroad may vote in the legislative elections by postal vote.

Prerequisites

To qualify as a voter in the legislative elections, one must:

  1. be of Luxembourgish nationality;
  2. be at least 18 years of age on the day of the election;
  3. possess full civil and political rights;
  4. reside in Luxembourg.

The following persons are excluded from the electorate and are not allowed to vote:

  • people who have been convicted of criminal offences;
  • people who, for lesser offences, have been stripped of the right to vote following a conviction;
  • adults under guardianship.

How to proceed

Mandatory voting and secret ballot

Voting is mandatory for all registered voters. Voters may not be represented by proxy. Those who are unable to vote in the election must explain the reason for their absence to their local State Prosecutor, and provide the necessary supporting documents. Unjustified abstentions are punishable by a fine.

In the event of repeat offences, the penalty is increased.

The following are excused from mandatory voting:

  • voters who, at the time of the election, live in a commune other than the one in which they normally vote;
  • voters who are over 75 years of age.

The vote is secret and the voter can not be forced to reveal it for any reason (judicial investigation or challenge, parliamentary inquiry, etc.).

Postal voting

Each voter can request to vote by post .

The request for a postal vote must be sent to the commune where the voter must vote:

  • at the earliest 12 weeks and at the latest 25 days before election day, if the poll card is sent to an address in Luxembourg;
  • at the earliest 12 weeks and at the latest 40 days before election day, if the poll card is sent abroad.

Polling card

A poll card is sent by the communal administration to each voter at least 5 days in advance indicating:

  • the date;
  • the start and end times of the voting;
  • the location of the polling station;
  • if there are multiple polling stations, the designation of the one where the voter is called to vote.

The poll card contains instructions for the voter as well as the list of candidates.

On the day of the election, voters may go to the polling station with their identity card or passport but do not need to bring the poll card.

A voter who shows up without their identity card or passport, may be admitted to vote if his or her identity and capacity are recognized by the members of the polling station.

Voting procedure

Voters receive a folded ballot paper, stamped on the back with a stamp that states the name of the commune and the number of the polling station.

They will directly have to go into one of the booths, mark their vote, show the chief polling officer their ballot folded back into its original state with the stamp on the outside, and deposit it in the ballot box.

They are forbidden to unfold their ballot once they leave the voting booth to reveal how they voted. If this happens, the chief polling officer will take the unfolded ballot, immediately annul and destroy it, and ask the voter to vote again.

Voters who inadvertently damage the ballot that was given to them may ask the chief polling officer for another one after returning the original one, which will immediately be destroyed. A record of this shall be made in the voting report.

Voters may spend only as much time in the booth as is necessary to fill out their ballots.

As one voter leaves the voting room, the polling officer will admit another so that the voters succeed each other in the isolated booths without interruption.

Voters who are blind or disabled may be authorised by the chief polling officer to be accompanied by a guide or aide who may even help them to vote if they are unable to do so themselves.

The visually impaired voter is also entitled to vote using the tactile voting model provided before the elections. Failing this, he may use the model kept available by the polling station.

A polling station member can accompany the visually impaired voter into a voting booth to help him insert the ballot correctly into the voting model.

Ballot validity

Each voter has as many votes as there are deputies to be elected in their district.

Votes may be cast for a list or for individual candidates.

Electors who vote for a list may not cast any additional votes, subject to cancellation of their ballot, unless the list chosen includes fewer candidates than there are deputies to be elected in the district.

Voters who vote for individual candidates may choose candidates from the same list or from different lists, but must be careful not to vote for more candidates than there are available seats.

They may allocate 2 votes to each of the candidates, up to the total number of votes that they hold.

The following are null and void:

  • any ballots other than the one that the chief polling officer gives the voter at the time of the vote;
  • the proper ballot, if:
    • the voter has cast more votes than there are deputies to be elected;
    • the voter has not cast any votes;
    • an unauthorised deletion, sign or mark may render the voter recognisable;
    • it contains any paper or other object.

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