By 1 May, 177,730 Berliners have already voted for the European elections. The absentee ballot makes this possible, for over two weeks, the election notices are sent to all 2.5 million voters in Berlin. Since then, every eligible voter can apply for absentee ballots online, by mail or in person.
The demand is much higher than in the EU election five years ago, when in the same period before the election date only 111,052 citizens had applied for absentee voting. The current number is even higher than in the 2016 parliamentary election, when 163,368 Berliners had requested a ballot at the same time as the election.
If the current trend continues, in Berlin with an above-average turnout in the European elections to be expected, which takes place in Germany on 26 May. More than 50 percent seem possible. At the EU election in 2014, which took place at the same time as the referendum on the Tempelhof airport, the turnout was 46.7 percent.
The previous record result in a European election in Berlin was achieved in 1994, at that time 53.5 percent.
A postal vote of over 30 percent is possible
"I suspect that there is a greater interest in the European elections, also because of the Brexit, and thus a higher turnout," says Geert Baasen, head of the office of the Land Return Officer. There is certainly a further increase in postal voting. The share of the postal voters in the valid votes could therefore also reach new heights. Since the House of Representatives election in 2011, the rate in Berlin fluctuates between 27.6 and 29.2 percent.
The current high demand for a voting slip indicates that in the 2019 European elections more than 30 percent of Berlin's voters will vote by ballot. But only if the great interest in the EU election in the capital continues in the coming weeks.
Constantly increasing absentee votes are not a Berlin specialty, but to be observed nationwide. This is shown by the results of earlier elections to the European Parliament, the Bundestag and the Abgeordnetenhaus in Berlin. The proportion of postal voters in Berlin is usually particularly high among supporters of the CDU and FDP. The Greens also benefit marginally, while the absentee voting rates of the SPD and the Left, as well as the AfD, are usually below average.
Panne sending the election documents in Tempelhof-Schöneberg
In Tempelhof-Schöneberg, so also complained readers of the Tagesspiegel, voters received their election documents twice. Of these, a total of 173 ballot papers are affected in the district, confirmed branch office manager Baasen. It was a "technical problem of the printer in combination with a chain of unfortunate circumstances (paper jam, etc.) acted. The District Electoral Office had canceled the relevant ballot papers and sent new documents. Comparable problems in other district elective offices are unknown to him.
Anyone who has not received election notice for the European elections by the end of this week can check the electoral roll to see if he or she is registered there. If not, you can apply for membership in the register by 10 May at the latest. Anyone who has received a voting notice but can not find it anymore can still vote. But do not forget to take a photo ID with you to the polling station!
In 2009, there was an electoral challenge complaint against the European elections
Not everyone is fond of the postal vote, but not because of technical problems. Because no one knows under what circumstances and by whom the ballots are filled at home on the sofa or at the kitchen table. Most recently, in July 2013, the Federal Constitutional Court dealt with an electoral review complaint against the 2009 European elections. A lawsuit that was unsuccessful.
At that time, the court pointed to "the increasing mobility in today's society and a greater emphasis on individual lifestyle". The approval of absentee voting under these circumstances served the purpose of "achieving the widest possible turnout". That other principles (electoral secrecy, freedom of choice and integrity of the election) would be violated by the absentee ballot, is not yet apparent. This confirmed previous judgments of the Federal Constitutional Court.