Press release no. 54/21 of 19. November 2021
2021 Bundestag Election: Federal Returning Officer lodges objection regarding six Berlin constituencies
WIESBADEN/BERLIN – At the Bundestag election on 26 September 2021, polling stations in some of Berlin’s constituencies closed temporarily as they had the wrong ballot papers or none at all and voters stood in line outside polling stations for other organisational reasons. As a result, waiting times were very long at some polling stations and many voters did not get the chance to exercise their right to vote. The Federal Returning Officer therefore filed an objection with the German Bundestag on 19 November 2021 contesting the validity of the election to the 20th German Bundestag. The objection refers to the following constituencies: 75 Berlin-Mitte, 76 Berlin-Pankow, 77 Berlin-Reinickendorf, 79 Berlin-Steglitz-Zehlendorf, 80 Berlin-Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and 83 Berlin-Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg – Prenzlauer Berg Ost.
The Federal Returning Officer is entitled to file an objection and has therefore requested a report from the Berlin Land Returning Officer to investigate these incidents. From the perspective of the Federal Returning Officer, current findings suggest that the events violated electoral provisions and therefore constitute election errors which affected, among others, the principle of universal suffrage laid down in Article 38 paragraph 1, first sentence, of the German Basic Law. In addition, the election errors which occurred may have had an impact on mandates. It cannot be ruled out that without these incidents the seats in the German Bundestag would have been distributed differently.
“On account of the number and seriousness of individual election errors, I contested the validity of the election to the 20th German Bundestag in six Berlin constituencies by filing an objection. This decision was taken mainly because there may also have been consequences for mandates. In addition to that, the errors could have been avoided by better organisation. I therefore asked the Berlin Land Returning Officer to take comprehensive measures as soon as possible to prevent election errors in future”, said Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel.
All eligible voters, the Land returning officers and the Federal Returning Officer are entitled to file an objection with the Committee for the Scrutiny of Elections of the German Bundestag to contest the validity of the election. The relevant deadline is 26 November 2021.
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