German Election Do-Over Already in Doubt as More Postal Votes Found

German Election Do-Over Already in Doubt as More Postal Votes Found

The result of Berlin’s local elections which saw right-wing parties soar is now reportedly in doubt after hundreds of postal ballots turned up late in one key constituency in the city, in a development that could benefit the left.

Around 450 ballots are said to have turned up in the Lichtenberg district of Berlin, with reports indicating that the few hundred extra ballots could put the overall result of the capital city’s elections in doubt.

It is far from the first time discrepancies have arisen during an election in the German capital, with last week’s local elections only taking place due to the last poll in 2021 being deemed invalid due to the sheer number of discrepancies during the day of the vote.

Now problems are again emerging, with multiple outlets reporting that a large number of ballots have been discovered in one district in the city which when counted have the possibility of substantially changing the election result.

The votes are thought to have arrived at the counting centre very late, meaning that they were missed during the initial count, though the theory is presently speculative, with an investigation into the matter now reportedly being underway.

As things stand, the right has romped home in the poll, with both the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) making major gains in the city over the previous, ruled-invalid election which saw a left-wing victory.

However, according to a report by Die Welt, the votes that have turned up in Lichtenberg could shift the balance of power on the left side of the equation in favour of the country’s hardline progressive green party.

Under the current result, both the Greens and the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) finished a distant joint second behind the CDU, with the votes in theory granting either party the possibility of winning an extra seat, and increasing their influence in the city’s legislature.

Die Welt has since reported that the SPD may have done just that, with officials from the district reportedly saying that the formerly lagging SPD has now tied the result of the formerly unrivalled CDU in the constituency, with it now being unclear what party will end up with the constituency’s seat.

The sudden appearance of extra ballots in Berlin, while likely disappointing for many in the city, will likely not be a surprise to those following politics in Germany.

Berlin’s recent electoral history has in fact been plagued by such problems, with this most recent election only taking place due to the last one held in 2021 being ruled invalid by a court in the city.

Taking place during the COVID pandemic, the city-wide ballot saw irregular opening times for polling centres, missing ballots, long lines, and a host of other issues, to the point that a court reviewing the poll felt like it had no choice but to order a do-over.

Sunday’s repeat ultimately saw support for left-wing parties plummet, with the SPD, Free Democratic Party and the greens — who have formed a coalition government at the Federal level in Germany — haemorrhaging support in the city, with many voters instead opting to hand a mandate to those on the right.

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