What rights do criminals lose?

Disqualification from voting

Section 13 number 1 of the Federal Electoral Act (BWG) stipulates that, among other things, those who do not have the right to vote as a result of a judge's verdict are excluded from voting.

This regulation does not contradict the general principle of equality of Article 3 of the Basic Law (GG) and the principles of equality and generality of election, because the right to vote is not withdrawn automatically, but only through a judge's verdict if there are legally given facts.

However, this exclusion as a result of a German court's judgment is only possible in a few cases expressly mentioned in the Criminal Code (StGB) and the Federal Constitutional Court Act (BVerfGG) and is valid for two to a maximum of five years. Exclusion from the right to vote takes place if there has been a conviction of at least six months or at least one year imprisonment for the following criminal offenses, for example:

  • Preparation of a war of aggression and high treason against the federal government
  • Treason and revelation of state secrets
  • Attack against organs and representatives of foreign states
  • Voting obstruction and falsification of election documents
  • Bribery of parliamentarians
  • Acts of sabotage against the means of defense or security-endangering intelligence service (the prerequisite in this case is imprisonment of at least one year).

In these cases, the withdrawal of the right to vote is subject to the dutiful discretion of the court in accordance with the special criminal law provisions and is not an automatic consequence of the conviction for these offenses.

In addition, the right to vote can be revoked by the Federal Constitutional Court because of the forfeiture of fundamental rights.

Legal bases

Art. 38 para. 1 GG, Art. 93 para. 1 No. 5 in conjunction with Art. In conjunction with Article 18 of the Basic Law
Section 13 No. 1 BVerfGG, Section 36 BVerfGG, Section 39 (2) BVerfGG
Section 13 No. 1 BWG
§§ 80 - 92 StGB i. V. m. § 92a StGB and § 45 Abs. 5 StGB
§§ 93 - 100a StGB i. V. m. § 101 StGB and § 45 Abs. 5 StGB
Section 102 (1) of the Criminal Code i. In conjunction with Section 102 Paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code and Section 45 Paragraph 5 of the Criminal Code
Section 107, Section 107a, Section 108, Section 108b StGB i. V. m. § 108c StGB and § 45 Abs. 5 StGB
Section 108e (1) of the Criminal Code in conjunction with V. m. § 108e Abs. 2 StGB and § 45 Abs. 5 StGB
§ 109e, § 109f StGB i. V. m. § 109i StGB and § 45 Abs. 5 StGB

As of May 1, 2014