In 2021, Germany held a nationwide general election that will now have to be re-run in its capital city of Berlin after multiple discrepancies and voting irregularities were revealed, similar to the voting issues experienced across the United States. However, the US leadership wouldn’t consider redoing an election regardless of evidence of election law violations.
On Wednesday, the President of the Berlin Constitutional Court, Ludgera Selting, cited “serious systemic flaws” in the election preparation process, and ruled that “The elections to the Berlin House of Representatives and the district assemblies are declared invalid in the entire electoral area.”
The new elections are to be held in the Spring of 2023. According to State Election Commissioner Stephan Bröchler, February 12, 2023 is the most likely date.
During Berlin’s 2021 elections, citizens voted on four separate items: the general election for the German federal parliament, the regional election for the Berlin city-state, local district elections, and a referendum on bringing some housing under government control. On the same day, Berlin was hosting its international marathon, adding to the chaos of the day.
On the day of the elections, people were forced to wait in lines for hours just to cast their votes. Many of the polling stations were missing ballot papers and/or did not have enough ballot boxes. There were also missing ballots, ones that were poorly photocopied, and others that had the wrong candidates listed on them.
Many people received ballots for the wrong district, causing a great number of ballots to be invalidated. A large number of votes were cast after 6 pm, the official closing time.
All of these issues led to the court ruling that the standard of democratic elections was not met, requiring a re-run.
Wilko Zicht, part of the nonprofit electoral watchdog Walrecht, praised the court’s decision, saying,
“Democracy rests on the fact that results are accepted, and that is only possible if you can trust the results. These mistakes could not have been corrected any other way.”
Zicht also expressed the belief that “the danger would have been greater if the verdict today had been different.”
“Then you actually could have argued,” said Zicht. “Even if something has clearly gone wrong, how can they just carry on and not repeat the election.”
Just before the German elections in 2021, YouTube had announced they would be banning any content suggesting the US or German election results were illegitimate, or that “advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome,” which, in this case, were not actually false.