Berlin will have to repeat its state and district elections in 2021, the German capital’s constitutional court has ordered.
Regional votes in the German capital last September were marred by serious errors, a court said on Wednesday.
The judges ruled that the voting result was invalid “given the large number and seriousness of electoral errors”.
Long lines formed outside many polling stations in Berlin on September 26, 2021 as voters struggled with ballots for four separate ballots.
On the same day, simultaneous federal, state and district-level elections were held in Berlin, as well as city referendum on the expropriation of the property of large real estate companies. The Berlin Marathon, also held on the same day, added to the logistical difficulties.
Some polling stations ran out of ballots, while others received those for the wrong district, leading to a large number of invalidated ballots.
Another problem was that the elections were supposed to end at 6 pm, but people who were waiting in line at that time were still allowed to vote.
Several political parties and government bodies, including Berlin’s electoral body and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, have filed official complaints and called for an investigation into the election results.
New state elections must now be held within 90 days of Wednesday’s ruling.
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said her regional government would not contest the court decision and would do everything to ensure that the repeat elections were well organized.
“It’s very clear that mistakes were made here that must not be repeated, that should not have happened,” she said on Wednesday.