Suddenly, completed ballot papers for the European elections appeared

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Written By Maya Cantina

Old ballot papers from the 2019 European elections that accidentally entered circulation briefly led to suspicions of attempted voter fraud in Bad Reichenhall. The signal was given on Thursday: the serious suspicion of deliberate election manipulation had been removed, the city of Bad Reichenhall announced. “It was rather a human error in the preparation of the elections.”

The suspicion arose because a citizen had received a ballot paper before the European elections in June that already contained the European Union’s election proposal FDP was checked. Two ballots with the same voting decision were also issued, which voters complained about. Two ballot papers with a cross for the FDP were subsequently found among the documents yet to be issued.

They were old ballots

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

A city employee with experience handling elections was reportedly able to clarify the matter. 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, to check the dimensions of the ballot papers and draw conclusions for the preparation of this year’s European elections.

“That irritates us enormously”

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

“Apparently, due to 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 irritates us enormously,” said Mayor Christoph Lung. “By our behavior following the incident, we have demonstrated that we have conducted prompt and serious investigations and we 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 started an investigation.



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