Each commune has a communal council (which represents the town or city) and a board consisting of the mayor and aldermen (which is the executive and administrative body for day-to-day management of the commune). Communal councillors are directly elected by the residents of the commune.
The communal council is renewed every 6 years during elections which are usually held on the second Sunday in October.
The elections can be moved to the first Sunday in June if the legislative elections and the communal elections were scheduled to take place in October of the same year.
The number of communal councillors in the communal council is determined by the number of inhabitants in the commune. Each commune is an electoral district. The voters have as many votes as there are councillors to elect. The college of aldermen of each commune is appointed from within the ranks of the communal council.
Voting is mandatory for all voters registered on the electoral lists, regardless of their nationality (Luxembourg nationals, EU nationals and others). Voters may not be represented by proxy. To be eligible to vote, voters must be registered on the electoral lists no later than 86 days before the elections. Voting takes place by secret ballot.
Citizens of Luxembourg are automatically registered on the electoral list of their commune of residence as soon as they meet the legal conditions to vote.
In some towns, voters can register to vote electronically via the macommune.lu portal.
To vote in communal elections, voters must:
- be at least 18 years of age on the day of the election;
- enjoy civil rights and not have been stripped of the right to vote in either their country of residence or in their home country. The second condition cannot, however, be applied to non-Luxembourg citizens who have lost the right to vote in their country of origin due to residency abroad;
- for Luxembourgish citizens, be domiciled in the Grand Duchy;
- for nationals of other EU Member States, be domiciled in Luxembourg and have been resident there for at least five years at the time of the application for inclusion on the electoral register;
- for other foreign nationals, be domiciled in Luxembourg and have been resident there for at least five years at the time of application for inclusion on the electoral register. For that entire period, they must also have been lawful residents and possess valid identity documents and, where applicable, a visa, if required.
Under certain conditions, postal voting is allowed for some voters to prevent abstention.
The following persons may not be included on the electoral register, and are not allowed to vote:
- people who have been convicted of criminal offences;
- people who, for lesser offences, have been deprived of the right to vote by their sentences;
- adults under guardianship.
Whilst the electoral registers are permanent, applications for removals and new registrations are accepted:
- until the 86th day (the 13th Friday) before the communal elections;
- due to a change in voters' electoral residence;
- due to a correction by the administrative courts.
Elector status is demonstrated by inclusion on the electoral register. Electoral registers are maintained by the communal administration – in particular using declarations of births and declarations of arrival of new residents in the commune. In the event of a move to another commune at any time of year, the voting right must be transferred to the new commune.
Registering as a Luxembourgish voter
The College of Aldermen of each commune update the list of Luxembourgish citizens eligible (and required) to vote in elections throughout the year. It maintains and includes, on the register, automatically or at the request of any Luxembourgish citizen, those who satisfy the eligibility criteria and are domiciled in the commune.
Voters are registered automatically:
- on the official register, if they have reached the age of 18 before the provisional deadline for registration;
- on the secondary register, if they have reached the age of 18 between the provisional deadline for registration and the date of the election, inclusive.
If, after a claim is made, the College of Aldermen removes the names of electors who had been included on the previous year's registers or on the provisional registers, those electors shall be informed in writing at their place of residence within 48 hours of the publication of the register, informing them of the reasons for the removal.
In the case of a full or partial election of the communal council, the age and residency conditions must be met on the day of the communal elections.
Registering as a non-Luxembourgish voter
A citizen of another State, whether or not it is an EU member, resident in Luxembourg, has the right to vote in communal elections without losing the right to vote in their country of origin.
A foreign national who wishes to participate for the first time in communal elections must go to the town hall of their place of residence in person and complete, date and sign an application to be included on the separate register of foreign voters, which also mentions the nationality of registered voters, before the deadline. Registration applications must be submitted no later than 86 days before the election, for which applicants shall receive a receipt from the College of Aldermen.
In support of their application for registration, foreign nationals must also:
- complete, date and sign a formal declaration stating:
- their nationality, their date and place of birth, their last address in their country of origin and their address in Luxembourg;
- that they have not been stripped of the right to vote in their country of origin by individual court order or by administrative decision, provided the person can make a legal appeal or, as the case may be, their loss of eligibility is due to the conditions of residency imposed by the country of origin;
- present a current valid identity document.
Subject to acceptance, voters are included on the electoral registers by the College of Aldermen no later than 86 days before the communal elections. Within 15 days of the registration application, interested parties will be informed by individual letter of the result, and reasons must be given if registration is denied.
If a foreign national is registered to vote, they will remain registered under the same conditions as Luxembourgish voters (should they move, they do not need to re-register), until they ask to be removed or until they are officially removed because they no longer meet the eligibility criteria. If they move, voters are automatically registered on the electoral register of their new commune. If registered, they are required to vote.
Voters on the separate register of foreign voters for communal elections who acquire Luxembourgish nationality after the 86th day before the communal elections cannot be included on the register of Luxembourgish voters before the elections. They may, however, exercise their right to vote in those elections by virtue of their inclusion on the separate register of non-Luxembourgish voters.
Voters who wish to be removed from the electoral register must make their request in writing to the College of Aldermen, attaching a photocopy of their identity document (identity card or passport).
At least 5 days in advance, the communal administration sends each voter a polling card indicating the date, opening and closing times, and location where the election is to take place, and, if there is more than one polling station, the name of the polling station where that voter is to vote. The polling card contains voter instructions and also the list of candidates.
On the day of the election, voters may go to the polling station with their identity card, passport or foreign identity card, but do not need to bring the polling card.