Berlin Holds Do-Over of 2021 Election

Court rejected results of glitch-filled vote
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2023 11:30 AM CST
Berlin Revotes After 2021 Election Filled With Glitches
People line up outside a polling station in the Moabit district of Berlin on Sept. 26, 2021.   (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

Berlin on Sunday held a court-ordered rerun of a chaotic 2021 state election that was marred by severe glitches at many polling stations and hourslong lines as polling places ran out of ballot papers or received ones for the wrong district. Berliners have long been frustrated by the capital's notoriously dysfunctional administration, which has defied cliches of German efficiency for years and made the city a national laughingstock. The Constitutional Court of Berlin, one of three German cities that is also a state in its own right, declared the original vote invalid in November, the AP reports. It said a partial rerun wouldn't be enough "in view of the large number and severity of the election errors."

The decision followed complaints by several political parties and government entities over the Sept. 26, 2021, election for the state legislature. Berlin held four votes that day: the state election, an election for the city’s 12 district assemblies, the German national election, and a local referendum. The Berlin Marathon took place the same day, adding to the logistical difficulties. Long lines formed outside many polling stations as voters struggled with extra ballot papers. Some polling stations ran out of ballots during the day, and others received ones for the wrong district, leading to a large number of invalidated votes.

Another issue was that the election was supposed to end at 6pm, but voters waiting in line at that hour were allowed to cast their ballots even after the results of exit polls were made public. The head of an international delegation of election observers said Sunday's repeated election appeared to be well-organized and proceeding smoothly. "We are very satisfied with what we have seen," Vladimir Prebilic, head of the Council of Europe delegation, told German news agency dpa. Around 2.4 million people are eligible to vote in the rerun.

(More Berlin stories.)

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