Berlin's constitutional court Wednesday declared last year’s elections invalid and ordered another election held within 90 days.
Among the several elections held in September 2021, Berlin’s state election and local district elections have been declared invalid due to legal challenges claiming numerous irregularities, reported DW. Some ballots, for example, listed the wrong candidates. Some were “hastily photocopied.” Some polling stations ran out of ballots altogether. Other polling stations had to close during the day, while others stayed open longer than they should have. According to some reporters, certain polling stations granted voters access only to vote in the federal election. Other reports suggest some polling stations “guesstimated” the tallies, and some registered the same tallies for a string of elections.
Berlin also held its annual marathon on election day, making access to some polling places difficult.
Even though fraud was not alleged, the irregularities were enough to prompt Berlin’s highest court to order new elections because they may have altered the election result.
“The elections to the Berlin House of Representatives and the district assemblies are declared invalid in the entire electoral area,” ruled Berlin Constitutional Court President Ludgera Selting.
The elections could unseat current Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey, who leads the Social Democrats Party (SPD). Recent polls show the SPD is neck-and-neck with the Green Party and Christian Democratic Union opposition.
The federal election, which saw Olaf Scholtz grab the chancellorship and is not under the authority of Berlin’s supreme court, looks unlikely to be repeated.
This marks only the second time in Germany’s history that an election is officially ruled invalid, with the first time being in 1991.
The ruling comes as millions of Brazilians take to the streets contesting last month’s federal election, citing official reports which show voting discrepancies.
The election, in which Left-wing ex-convict Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ousted incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, has sparked large-scale protests across the country due to widespread claims of fraud. The protests are entering their third week.
Lula, who spent 580 days in prison for corruption, won the most votes in the country’s history, but also by the narrowest margin for a presidential election in the country’s modern history. Now many Brazilians are contesting the legitimacy of the election, citing independent analyses by the electoral authorities which found that machines that were not audited had a statistically significant difference (p=10-18) in voting outcome in favor of Lula, amounting conservatively in the 1st round to 2.4% of the votes transferred and, in the 2nd round, 3.3%.
Protests erupted across the country following the results, with hundreds of thousands of Brazilian citizens blocking roads and even surrounding army barracks as they demand military intervention in election fraud. Law enforcement personnel have reportedly joined in the protests.
Tuesday’s protests were the largest yet, with three million citizens clogging roads in the capital Brasilía alone. In Rio de Janeiro, about 500,000 protested in front of the old Ministry of Defense and demanded military intervention. Hundreds of thousands more protested elsewhere throughout the country.
But unlike Berlin’s Supreme Court, Brazil’s Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who is also the country’s top election official, has declared anyone who questions the election results a criminal.