A provisional legal assessment by the constitutional court was announced, but what it turned out to be can be described as a reckoning. One often hears that voters complain when they have to stand in line in countries where democracy is otherwise on the right track.
In Berlin, however, a dysfunction of another dimension became apparent. The court has now made it clear to everyone who still believed that such electoral mistakes are mistakes that can happen.
That elections endure is a value in a democracy
The verdict has not yet been made, but the decision seems to have been made. She shouldn’t have been easy. It is a value in a democracy that elections endure even if everything does not go according to the gold standard. A coalition has been formed, an opposition has emerged; Laws were made, decisions made. Representative democracy needs a rhythm, otherwise it gets out of step.
It may be that in the digital home office society, visiting the analogue polling station is felt to be outdated. Even with the organizers.
Democracy also needs trust. And this consists essentially in the fact that voters can, under reasonable circumstances, tick their box without haste and be sure that their vote counts. This is the first link in a chain of legitimacy, at the end of which the fate of a community is determined.
During the hearing, the court rightly emphasized that it is precisely in the external act of voting – visiting the polling station, checking, issuing and inserting ballot papers – that everyone takes a close look at a central functioning of democracy. It doesn’t just have to work, it has to work well.
If there were any forecasts for election events, they were inadequate
The opposite: Berlin in September 2021. The state election authority has failed, as has the internal administration for control and supervision. In the opinion of the court, the forecasts for the elections – as far as there were any – were so inadequate that there was hardly anything to save on the spot.
In addition, people seemed to have carelessly assumed that the autumn Sunday invites you to take a trip anywhere, just not to the ballot box. Accordingly, the ballot papers were calculated far too tightly. It may be that in the digital home office society, visiting the analogue polling station is felt to be outdated. Even with the organizers.
That would be fatal. A society must be allowed to see and experience itself when voting. In this respect, one can only hope that the Berliners will not be deterred by a new round. Because what democracy needs in addition to enough ballot papers and trust that they will be counted correctly are voters who show themselves. Public. Otherwise she will eventually die.
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