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Electoral Law for the Reichstag of the North German Confederation (May 31, 1869)

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§ 12. The election is direct. It takes place through absolute majority of all votes cast in the constituency. If an absolute majority is not reached in an election, only the two candidates receiving the most votes will stand in the run-off election.

In case of a tied vote, the election is decided by drawing lots.

§ 13. Subject to scrutiny by the Reichstag, the validity or invalidity of the ballots is decided upon exclusively by the supervisor of the election district according to the majority of votes cast in that district.

Invalid ballots are to be included with the election protocol for the purpose of scrutiny by the Reichstag. Those ballots deemed valid have to be kept sealed by the supervisor of voting in the respective election district until such time as the Reichstag definitively declares the election valid.

§ 14. The general elections are to be carried out across the entire territory of the Confederation on the same day specified by the Presidency of the Federal Council.

§ 15. The Federal Council organizes the election procedure, as far as it as not been determined by the current law, by way of uniform election regulations valid for the entire territory of the Confederation.

These regulations may only be altered with the consent of the Reichstag.

§ 16. The costs of the printed forms for the election records and for the determination of the election result in the constituencies are borne by the member states; the remaining costs of the election procedure by the municipalities.

§ 17. Eligible voters have the right to form associations to handle matters relating to the Reichstag elections and to hold, unarmed, public meetings in closed rooms.

The stipulations of the state laws concerning the notification of the authorities about assemblies and parties as well their surveillance remain unaffected.

§ 18. The current law comes into force upon the first elections to the Reichstag that take place after its proclamation. From that point onwards, all previous election laws concerning the Reichstag, in addition to all accompanying executive laws, decrees and regulations, lose their validity.

Source: Bundesgesetzblatt [Federal Law Gazette] (1869), p. 145.

Original German text reprinted in Ernst Rudolf Huber, ed., Dokumente zur deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte [Documents on German Constitutional History], 3rd ed., revised and enlarged. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1978, vol. 2, pp. 307-09.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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