Election fraud – the suspicion has recently alarmed the city leaders in Bad Reichenhall. The judiciary investigated. Now it’s clear: It was a strange set of circumstances.

Old ballot papers from the 2019 European elections that accidentally came into circulation briefly sparked suspicions of attempted voter fraud in Bad Reichenhall. The all-clear was given on Thursday: the serious suspicion of deliberate election manipulation had been dispelled, the city of Bad Reichenhall announced. “Rather, it was a human oversight in the preparation of the election.”

The suspicion arose because a citizen had received a ballot paper for the European elections in June on which the FDP’s nomination had already been marked. Two ballot papers with the same voting decision had also been issued and claimed by voters. Two further ballot papers with a cross for the FDP were then found among the documents yet to be issued.

During the investigation into the case, it has now emerged that these were old ballot papers from the 2019 European elections, which are similar to the current ballot papers in terms of shape, size and appearance. However, the ballot papers were not specifically put into circulation with the intention of influencing the elections. 

A city employee experienced in handling elections was reportedly able to clear up the case. He reported that he had taken the ballot papers from a package of valid votes from the 2019 European elections stored in the document destruction room in order to check the dimensions of the ballot papers and draw conclusions from them for the preparation of this year’s European elections.

Due to a communication error, the ballot papers were not returned to the document destruction room, but were instead folded and placed with the postal voting documents for this year’s European elections. 

“Apparently, due to a human error, five marked ballot papers from the 2019 European elections ended up in the documents to be issued for the 2024 European elections. “That annoys us very much,” commented Mayor Christoph Lung. “Through our behavior in response to the incident, we have shown that we investigated quickly and seriously and are very grateful to the state investigative authorities for their work.”

The city had filed a complaint against unknown persons on suspicion of attempted election fraud; The Traunstein public prosecutor’s office had already initiated investigations.

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