An independent commission of experts commissioned by the Berlin Senate on the election glitches in the previous year recommends structural changes in the organization of elections. This emerges from a report by the election commission, which is available to the Tagesspiegel.

From the point of view of the committee, it should be checked whether the state returning authority has the right to issue instructions to the district electoral offices.

The state returning officer is currently “a queen without a country,” according to the commission’s report, which is to be officially presented on Wednesday.

You have no instruments to control elections in Berlin as a whole. In the future she should be appointed a year in advance instead of six months and she should be assigned a provincial electoral office. The position also requires more staff.

In addition to institutional strengthening, the management should also have “a strong personality with assertiveness, even at higher levels”, “which should be taken into account when making the selection before being appointed”.

According to the Commission, a central problem is the equipment and preparation of the polling stations. In the opinion of the expert panel, the state electoral regulations must be changed in such a way that the polling stations are completely equipped with the necessary number of ballot papers before the start of the election day.

Uniform standards are also needed for a higher number of polling booths in all districts, which should be applied “all over the city” – this would also include better training of electoral boards. In addition, there is a lack of financial planning security for the district offices.

The working group also criticized the fact that too little attention was paid to the special requirements for voting due to the simultaneous federal elections, the corona pandemic and the Berlin marathon, which took place on the same day. With regard to the marathon, the committee states: “Major events of this type and elections should not take place on the same day.”

Overall, the commission comes to the conclusion: “In retrospect, the problems that arose on election day were the result of avoidable mistakes in planning and preparing the Berlin elections with too little foresight.”

Numerous breakdowns and organizational problems occurred during the parallel elections to the Bundestag and the Berlin House of Representatives on September 26, 2021. These included wrong or missing ballots, the temporary closure of polling stations and sometimes hours of waiting. In addition, some polling stations were open well after 6 p.m.

Because of the massive problems, a partial or complete repetition of the elections is in the air. In the case of the election to the House of Representatives, the Berlin Constitutional Court decides on this, in the case of the Bundestag elections the Bundestag.