Berlin vote count questioned over election day glitches

AP International News

The German national flag waves from the top of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept.27, 2021. Following Sunday’s election leaders of the German parties were meeting Monday to digest a result that saw Merkel’s Union bloc slump to its worst-ever result in a national election and appeared to put the keys to power in the hands of two opposition parties. Both Social Democrat Olaf Scholz and Armin Laschet, the candidate of Merkel’s party, laid a claim to leading the next government.
(AP Photo/Michael Probst)

BERLIN (AP) — Numerous election day glitches in the German capital have prompted calls for the result to be scrutinized, with one politician saying Thursday that his party plans to challenge the outcome of the vote.

Long lines formed outside many polling stations in Berlin on Sunday as voters struggled with extra ballot papers for simultaneous federal, state and district elections — plus a city-wide referendum.

Despite the election officially ending at 6 p.m. (1600GMT) voters who were already lined up by then were allowed to cast their ballots.

Some polling stations ran out of ballot papers during the day, while others received ones for the wrong district. This led to a large share of ballots being declared invalid in some polling stations.

The top election official in Berlin state announced her resignation Wednesday.

Martin Sonneborn, a European lawmaker, said Thursday that his satirical party, The Party, would be challenging the vote.

Clarity about whether the voting irregularities affect the outcome isn’t expected before the certified vote count is published on Oct. 14.

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