“Germany’s election process is quite transparent,” said Klaus Pötzsch of the electoral committee responsible for the organization and running of any federal or EU election in Germany. The committee is trying to make sure that nothing goes wrong. “For instance you could look at the situation in the polling stations. In each station we have eight to nine volunteers helping out.” Around 630,000 such volunteers will be at polling places for the federal elections on Sunday. Anyone 18 or older can volunteer, but local authorities might also recruit you to help – and you can only turn down their request if you have a very convincing reason. Before polling stations open, the volunteers will check to ensure ballot boxes are indeed empty. During the election they’ll make sure that everybody has an ID with them and can show the documents every citizen receives by mail proving that they are eligible to vote.
… Germany has in the past used voting machines, as is done in the United States and Brazil. But in 2009, the country’s highest court has banned computers from the voting process on the grounds that the process had to be public. The same goes for counting the votes: “Every single vote has to be read out loudly and noted in a public protocol. Transparency is key,” said Pötzsch.
“Public” here means that anyone can attend the counting process. And should there be doubts about the results from a certain polling station, it has to be possible to recount the votes. This was, according to the court’s ruling – not possible when voting machines were used.