The elections are coming up on 8 October 2023. To date, 283,879 people are registered to vote (of whom 70,242 will vote by post). In 2018, there were 259,887 registered voters (40,400 mail-in ballots).
This represents a net increase of 23,992 voters.
The number breaks down in the following way: 25,292 residents have turned 18 since the last elections while another 28,864 have obtained Luxembourg nationality, totalling 54,146 first-time voters. Subtracted from that number are some 30,000 people who voted in 2018 but are no longer registered, either because they are deceased, have moved abroad without applying for an absentee ballot, have lost their right vote via conviction or have been stripped of their nationality.
A press release from the ministry of state specifies that the figure of 54,146 new voters counts only residents, i.e., not the 6,378 Luxembourgers living abroad and who registered for absentee ballots (the other 63,864 absentee ballots have gone to people living in the country). In 2018, for comparison, 5,489 Luxembourgers voted from abroad (while 34,911 absentee ballots were cast from within Luxembourg’s borders).
It should also be noted that some of the 54,146 new voters may be duplicates. “It is possible that a resident has turned 18 and obtained nationality in the same timeframe. In this case, that person will appear in both figures,” says the ministry, adding that the number of such voters nevertheless “must not be high.”
The ministry was unable to specify the original nationality of the newly Luxembourgish voters or the method by which they obtained nationality.
In 2022, 5,193 people obtained Luxembourg nationality by option, 4,273 by recovery and 1,033 by naturalisation.* Of these, 3,275 were of Brazilian origin; 1,227 Portuguese; 1,191 French, 889 American; and 551 Belgian.
By municipality and by constituency
Luxembourg City remains the municipality with the most voters (33,118 in 2023 versus 28,736 in 2018), followed at a distance by Esch-sur-Alzette (13,016 versus 12,056), Differdange (11,035 versus 9,336) and Dudelange (10,902 versus 10,109).
These comparisons need to be put into perspective, however, as the data for 2018 is incomplete: the numbers are from 10 October, four days before the elections, and pertain only to 256,698 potential voters out of the 259,887 registered at the time.
In any case, all the municipalities gained voters. While Luxembourg gained the most (4,382), the biggest percentage increase was in Ell (+28%). The ranking of constituencies by number of voters remains unchanged: the south leads with 111,001 voters, followed by the centre (80,475), the north (52,581) and the east (39,822). The north is growing the fastest (+13%), ahead of the centre (+12%), east (+10%) and south (+9%).
Fewer than half of residents registered
The 283,879 residents registered to vote represent fewer than half of the total resident population, which makes sense given that 47.4% of the population is of foreign nationality.
In 2018, 259,887 people were expected to vote but 26,873 did not. These, explains the ministry, were “voters who were registered but validly excused; who were over 75 and thus not required to vote and did not; and absentee ballots that either could not be delivered to voters living abroad… or were returned by voters too late by post.”
It remains to be seen whether the abstention rate will rise or fall in 2023. Of the 233,014 ballots received in 2018, 6,957 were left blank and 9,880 were ruled invalid, leaving 216,177 valid.
*Obtaining nationality by option: open to adults whose parent, adoptive parent or grandparent is or was a Luxembourg citizen; to the parents of a Luxembourg minor; to people who have married a Luxembourg citizen; to those born in the country to non-Luxembourg parents, who may apply from the age of 12; to adults who have completed at least seven years of schooling in Luxembourg; adults who have been legally resident in Luxembourg for at least 20 years; those who have fulfilled the commitments resulting from the reception and integration contract; those who settled in Luxembourg before the age of 18; adults with stateless, refugee or subsidiary protection status or volunteer soldiers.
*Obtaining nationality by recovery: for people who have lost their status as Luxembourgers and wish to recover it, or who are descended from a Luxembourg ancestor from 1 January 1900.
*Obtaining nationality by naturalisation: because these people have lived in the country for at least five years and have learned its language.
This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.