The already very long series “Bankruptcies, bad luck and breakdowns in Berlin” got a whole new season on election Sunday. Reports came in every hour about everything that went wrong in the capital. Ballot papers are missing or incorrectly sorted, couriers who were supposed to bring new ones got stuck in traffic because it was at the same time Berlin marathon took place. In some places the queues in front of the polling stations were so long that voting was still taking place when the “Tagesschau” was running with the first projections.
And it was improvised in an almost comedic way: electoral boards moved from polling station to polling station to scrounge papers, other lengths the ballot paper hand on the copier. In the queue of those waiting, an election worker is said to have asked whether the election for the Berlin House of Representatives, which was held at the same time as the Bundestag election, could be dispensed with, the slips of paper were just out.
The general election should have been postponed because of the marathon – what?
Even more Berlin were the attempts by those responsible to blame each other for the chaos. In the main role: die State Returning Officer. At first SHE could not explain how it all came about, then blamed the districts for it and only reluctantly resigned her office after much back and forth. But the supporting roles also had strong appearances: The head of the Berlin Senate Chancellery said the federal government could have the Bundestag election on a day other than the Berlin marathon, because it was “part of an international sports calendar and couldn’t go back and forth at will be pushed “.
And the war was far from being the season finale: In the meantime, there are initial suspicions that the election result might have looked different if it had been chaotic. There were noticeably many invalid votes in around a hundred Berlin constituencies. The top candidate of the left, Klaus Lederer, demands a recount of the votes because he missed his direct mandate to the Berlin House of Representatives by only 30 votes. On Thursday it became known that a Berlin district had reported fictitious results for several polling stations. The District Returning Officer thereupon stated that these preliminary figures “estimates”, the correct ones, would be “re-recorded”.
That’s Berlin, but that’s also the point at which all of this is no longer funny. The latest Berlin breakdown series comes at a time when democratic institutions are coming under pressure from all sides. Through the spread of fake news, attempts are made again and again to question the legitimate outcome of elections. It won’t be long before the first claim the election was stolen.
The debacle has to be dealt with thoroughly
The Berlin Senate now has to deal with the debacle thoroughly and transparently. The electorate has to know what exactly happened, and wherever there are doubts about the processes, it has to be checked and recounted. For some Experts | speaks a lot, to contest the election, that will be decided at the end of the Constitutional Court of the State of Berlin. Above all, however, the Berlin politicians must finally become aware of the responsibility that rests on a capital city. Because a chaotic and perhaps incorrectly made election is different from a planned airport: It not only affects the taxpayers, but the heart of democracy.