The election to the Berlin House of Representatives, which was marked by numerous mishaps, has to be repeated in its entirety. The vote of September 2021 was invalid, the Berlin Constitutional Court announced on Wednesday.
In justification, Court President Ludgera Selting referred to "serious systemic deficiencies" in the preparation of the election and a "numerous serious electoral errors". These were relevant to the mandate - so they had an impact on the composition of Parliament. The principle of generality, equality and freedom had been violated in the election.
As examples of voting errors, Selting cited wrong, missing or hastily copied ballot papers, too few ballot boxes, the temporary closure of polling stations and long queues in front of it with waiting times of sometimes several hours. In some of the 2,256 polling stations, voters were still voting after 6 p.m.
A redial must now take place within 90 days. According to the new state returning officer Stephan Bröchler, the most likely date is February 12th. His predecessor resigned after the Berlin election chaos last fall.
35 objections were before the court
With their verdict, the Berlin judges stuck to their initial assessment, which Selting had already explained at the hearing at the end of September. In addition to the state parliament, the court also declared the elections to the twelve Berlin district assemblies to be invalid.
These also took place on September 26, 2021, as did the federal elections and a referendum on the expropriation of large housing groups. The Berlin marathon also ran alongside. The result of this concentration and poor preparation were the massive problems.
Therefore, a repetition of the election to the Bundestag is necessary - at least for some Berliners: Based on a recommendation by its election examination committee, the Bundestag decided last week with the votes of the traffic light parliamentary groups SPD, Greens and FDP that they in 431 Berlin constituencies must be repeated. However, the parties in the Bundestag assume that the decision will be challenged before the Federal Constitutional Court.
The Berlin Constitutional Court received 35 objections to the evaluation of the election, four of which were initially negotiated. It was about the complaints of the state election authority, the internal administration and the parties AfD and the party.
According to the Berlin Senate, the breakdowns should not be repeated when the election is repeated. At least 38,000 poll workers are to be used in the election to the House of Representatives instead of 34,000 in the previous year. They should be better trained and receive significantly higher compensation. There should also be more ballot boxes in polling stations than last time.