Career Advice
July 16, 2021

Bundestag election: How much do election workers cost?

Bundestag election: How much do election workers cost?

It's that time again. It's election year. As with every election in Germany, thousands of election workers are needed this year. Even before Corona, mobilizing so many volunteers was no easy task. In order to attract more volunteers and to appropriately recognize the task of being an election worker, many cities have increased the so-called refreshment money. The amount set by the state is 35 euros for the election supervisor and 25 euros for all other roles on the election board.

The volunteer position of election worker is not officially declared as "work" and can be an exciting task even without remuneration, nevertheless, every helper is happy to be compensated accordingly. Most election helpers at the ballot box election are on duty for about six hours. In the case of absentee ballots, the time spent is somewhat shorter, as they usually only have to be on site for the count. In addition, election officials and, in some places, secretaries must attend a training course.

But in which city do election workers receive the highest refreshment allowance? For our analysis, we determined and compared the refreshment allowances in Germany's 40 largest cities. All the information was obtained from the relevant authorities. We would therefore like to express our sincere thanks once again to all the responsible officials.

The main results of the study on the 2021 federal election

The main results of the study on the 2021 federal election

*Refreshment payments for Frankfurt am Main had not yet been determined during the period under review.
**All information was obtained via the
Offices for Statistics and Elections.

Election workers in nearby cities do not necessarily receive a similarly high refreshment allowance. No example stands out here as much as that of the Ruhr region: while election officials in Duisburg and Essen go home with at least 80 euros on Sunday evening, an election official in Dortmund receives only 55 euros. Some 30 kilometers to the west, Gelsenkirchen election chairmen are happy to receive 70 euros. The record in this category, however, goes to Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg. At 132 euros, the election administrators here receive four times as much as in Münster, Halle or Wiesbaden (35 euros each).

Another outlier in Baden-Württemberg is Freiburg. Here, the city administration takes care of all roles except that of assessor. However, volunteers here are paid above average at 60 euros.

Despite the record amount of money received by election officials in Stuttgart, the city ranks only second in a nationwide comparison of average refreshment money. Bielefeld leads these items. Here, all election workers receive 80 euros. In addition, election chairpersons, secretaries and their deputies receive 20 euros in training money. This results in an average refreshment allowance of 96 euros - after taking into account all the positions we looked at.

Halle an der Saale brings up the rear in our survey. The major city in Saxony-Anhalt also remains at the state-mandated minimum of 25 euros. These cities are followed by Mainz and Braunschweig. Here, all members of the election committee receive an expense allowance of 35 euros, regardless of their function for the Bundestag election.

A double election is taking place in Rostock this year. On election day for the federal election, the votes for the state election will also be counted. To meet this increased responsibility, an increased refreshment allowance will be paid to all poll workers for the ballot box election.

The average refreshment allowance here is 70 euros.

East-West divide: Election workers in the new federal states receive less

If we compare the refreshment allowance in the new federal states with that in the old federal states, we see a difference. However, it should be noted here that only six of the cities we examined are in the new federal states.

In the new states, the average refreshment allowance is 49.75 euros, which is about eight euros less than in the old states (57.02 euros). The median of the average refreshment allowance is even further apart: 60 euros in the old states and 47.25 euros in the new states.

By comparison, the median of the average refreshment allowance across all cities is 60 euros. The average is just below that at 57.4 euros.


Vaccinated Election Workers

Prior to the removal of vaccination prioritization, election workers were assigned to Prioritization 3. This allowed many potential poll workers to get vaccinated earlier in order to be fully vaccinated in time for the election At the time this prioritization was announced, it was certainly an added incentive for those who would otherwise be more likely to decline their role as poll workers.

Regarding our examination: All data include possible training.

Special case Stuttgart: Here we charge by the hour. In addition, a distinction is made here between online and offline training. Our calculation applies to 6 hours. Offline training for the election board and online training for deputies and absentee ballots.

Compensation received for any lodging and travel expenses is not considered in this article. Additional compensation was also not examined.

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