On questions affecting society at large, the government sometimes wishes to obtain the people's opinion or approval through a vote to modify a law, or even the constitution.
This process is called a referendum.
Who is concerned
Voters whose names are on the electoral rolls for legislative elections on the day of the referendum.
This includes people who:
- are of Luxembourg nationality;
- are at least 18 years of age on the day of the election;
- enjoy their civil and political rights;
- reside in Luxembourg;
Voters may participate in the referendum by postal vote.
Only persons who actually have the right to vote may participate in the referendum (for example: a person who has been stripped of the right to vote due to a final court decision cannot participate in the vote).
Voters must be listed in the electoral rolls for legislative elections on the day of the referendum to be eligible to vote.
Luxembourg citizens residing abroad, who are entitled to vote due to their Luxembourg nationality, may participate in the vote by postal voting.
How to proceed
Voter information and poll cards
Voters are informed that a referendum is to be held through the placing of a notice on 3 occasions in 3 Luxembourg daily newspapers.
In addition, each commune also informs their voters residing within their limits of the place, day and time where the text being voted on in the referendum can be consulted. This information must be:
- communicated 15 days before the vote;
- by any means but by way of display in any case;
- drawn up in at least one of the country’s 3 administrative languages, i.e. Luxembourgish, French or German.
The place and time can be freely set by the commune but:
- it must be at least 6 hours per week;
- Saturdays must be one of the opening days.
The board of the mayor and aldermen sends, at least 5 days ahead of the vote, a poll card to each voter which indicates:
- the date;
- the start and end times of the voting;
- the place where the referendum is held;
- if there are multiple polling stations, the designation of the one where the voter is called to vote.
- the instructions and models of the question(s).
At each polling office, the text being voted on in the referendum must be posted.
Voting is mandatory for all voters on the electoral rolls except for:
- voters who, at the time of the election, live in a commune other than the one in which they are supposed to vote;
- voters who are over 75 years of age.
Those who are unable to vote 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.
Voters may not be represented by proxy.
Voters registered on the electoral rolls for the legislative elections can request to vote by post in the referendum.
Voters may vote from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. Voters who are in the premises of the polling station before 14.00 are allowed to vote.
Voters are not allowed to vote if they are not registered on the commune's electoral rolls for legislative elections. If they are not registered, they may still be allowed to vote if they present a decision by the mayor of the commune, their deputy or a judicial authority stating that they have the right to vote in the commune.
Voters must show their identity card or passport.
Voters who do not have their identity card or passport may be allowed to vote if their identity and status are recognised by the polling office.
The voter receives their poll card.
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 in a way that reveals how they voted. If this happens, the chief polling officer will take the unfolded ballot, immediately cancel and destroy it, and invite 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 be immediately 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.
- are blind or disabled are authorised by the electoral chairman:
- to be accompanied by a personal guide or any other assistant;
- to have their guide/assistant cast the vote in their place if they are not in a position to cast the vote themselves;
- the visually impaired are authorised to vote by using the tactile voting template provided to them prior to the elections. Failing this, they 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.
The vote is secret and the voter can not be forced to reveal it for any reason (judicial investigation or challenge, parliamentary inquiry, etc.).
Each voter has one vote per question asked.
Voters must fill out the ballot in the following manner:
- either by filling in one of the 2 boxes on the ballot next to each question;
- or by marking a cross (+ or x) in one of the two boxes next to each question.
Each filled box, even if only in part, or marked with a cross, even imperfectly, is deemed a valid vote, unless it becomes obvious that it is the voter's intent to become recognisable with the ballot paper.
Voters may express their votes using a pencil, a ballpoint pen or similar writing implement.
The following ballots will be deemed null and void:
- ballots other than those provided by the commune; or
- those expressing more than one vote per question asked; or
- those whose shape and dimensions have been altered; or
- those containing any piece of paper or other foreign object; or
- those whose authors may be rendered recognisable by a sign, a deletion or a mark not authorised by law.
Ballots containing no votes are considered blank.
However, ballots that express fewer votes than there are questions are valid. In other words, voters are not required to answer every question asked.
Appeals against voting operations
Any voter may lodge an appeal against voting operations with the Administrative Court (Cour administrative).
Appeals must be lodged within 5 days of the date of publication of the results in the official journal (Mémorial).
Requests for appeal must be dated and contain:
- the given names and surname and domicile of the applicant;
- a brief statement of the facts and reasons for the request;
- the applicant's claims;
- a list of documents the applicant intends to use as evidence.
If a referendum is definitively declared null and void, the Grand Duke will set a date for a new vote within 8 days. The new vote must be held within 6 months, unless:
- legislative or European elections are scheduled to take place within that same period: in that case, the period shall be extended by 6 months; or
- if the 6-month period coincides with a 3-month period preceding or following legislative or European elections.
Forms / Online services
Modèle de déclaration d'impossibilité de voter à un référendum