Social voting of 22 million people is possible online for the first time



Some 52 million people in Germany are invited to take part in social elections – 22 million of them online for the first time. “This is a revolution in electoral law,” Federal Commissioner for Voting, longtime CDU MP Peter Weiss told dpa in Berlin. Weiß sees the upcoming social election as a pilot project for potential online voting in other elections as well.

In the case of social elections, the insured and pensioners can select social parliaments in Germany until May 31. Members of the boards of directors of statutory health insurance companies and representative meetings of accident and pension insurance companies are elected. Online voting is now possible with Techniker Krankenkasse, DAK-Gesundheit, Barmer, KKH and hhk commercial health insurance company.

“It increases the importance,” Weiß said. The Social Election Commissioner is hoping for a slightly higher voter turnout than in the last social election in 2017, when turnout was around a third. Weiß hopes that it can more massively reach younger voters.

Discussions about the election are expected to take place online

After Easter, those who are entitled to vote will receive voting documents. Weiß explained that anyone who decides to vote online can prove their identity with the insurance number on their health card or with their ID card, provided the online function is activated. Otherwise, you can mark the ballot and send it back in a sealed red envelope.

After the planned evaluation of social elections, Weiß expects discussions about whether online elections can also be a substitute for postal voting in other elections. “As a pilot project, it brings great opportunities,” he said. Weiß mentioned elections in Chambers of Industry and Commerce as a possible area of ​​application. But as a test, some political elections could also be held online in the future, Weiß says. “Maybe you start with a local or state election.”

A total of 134 states were awarded in the social elections. The insured are elected from lists, candidates from trade unions and employers’ organizations, for example, but there are also free lists. According to information in member magazines and on the Internet, the lists prioritize such as extended rehabilitation or further digitization without burdening the insured. Results should be available in June.

Payers must have a say

Social elections date back to the 1950s. The idea behind it is that those who pay should have a say. All insured persons who pay contributions and who are at least 16 years old are entitled to vote. In the past, criticism of social elections has been aimed at the fact that many things that elected bodies decide were largely predetermined by the legislature.

Elected bodies decide, among other things, the budgets of their insurance companies and thus decide the use of contribution funds. They design the range of services, for example in rehabilitating pension insurance, deciding on objections to administrative decisions or deciding on bonus programs or optional tariffs with health insurers.

Weiss also referred to the women’s quota, which will be available for the first time in the 2023 social elections. 40 percent on the electoral lists of the autonomy of health insurers. For other branches of social insurance, a quota of 40% is applied as a recommendation.

note: This report is part of an automated service provided by the German Press Agency (dpa), which operates under strict journalistic rules. It is not edited or vetted by AZ Online Editors. Questions and hints please


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