Why is there another election?

There were numerous glitches in the election on September 26, 2021. At that time, Berliners simultaneously elected the Bundestag, the Berlin state parliament and the district representatives and also voted on a referendum. In addition, the Berlin Marathon took place on the same day, so many of the city's streets were closed. There were too few ballot papers in many polling stations, voters often had to wait in line for a long time, and in many places people were still voting after 6 p.m.

For the election to the House of Representatives, the Berlin Constitutional Court decided that the election must be completely repeated because of the many voting errors. That happened in February 2023. The CDU became the strongest party in this election, and there was a change in government from red-red-green to black-red.

However, the Bundestag did not want a complete repeat election, but decided with the majority of the traffic light factions that the election should only be repeated in 431 electoral districts. After an election audit complaint from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the Federal Constitutional Court determined in December 2023 that the election must be repeated in 455 of Berlin's 2,256 electoral districts.

Who can vote?

As of eight o'clock this morning, almost 550,000 Berlin residents have been able to vote. In a regular election it would be well over two million. The Pankow district is most affected, where more than 80 percent of those eligible to vote are called to vote again. In Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf it is 42 percent, and Reinickendorf is also severely affected. In other districts it is sometimes only a few percent.

Will people vote again?

In the 2021 election, almost 75 percent of those eligible to vote in Berlin went to the polls. There probably won't be that many this time. State returning officer Stephan Bröchler is aiming for 60 percent participation. Numerous celebrities have called for the vote in videos on the Internet. The number of ballot papers that were requested for postal voting can provide an initial indication. The district election offices issued a voting slip for 27.8 percent of those eligible to vote. In the 2021 election, 39 percent applied for a voting slip.

What special features are there?

The repeat election takes place almost two and a half years after the federal election. In the meantime, some residents of the affected electoral districts have moved away and are unable to vote again, even if they lived in an affected electoral district. Anyone who has now come of age can vote, even if they were not able to do so in 2021. Others have moved into the affected electoral districts. If you did this by December 31st of last year, then you can vote for the second time, even if you have already voted in another federal state in 2021.

As far as possible, the same candidates must run as in 2021. That's why Canzel Kiziltepe from the SPD is standing for election again, even though she no longer wants to be in the Bundestag. She gave up her Bundestag mandate in April 2023 to become a social senator in Berlin. Former Bundestag member and former judge Birgit Malsack-Winkelmann is formally on the electoral list for the AfD. However, she has been in custody since December 2022 because she is accused of being a member of a terrorist organization of Reich citizens who were planning a coup.

What is exciting about this election?

The election will have no influence on the balance of power in the Bundestag. Individual MPs could lose a direct mandate, while others could gain one. The former governing mayor Michael Müller from the SPD, the former Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters from the CDU or SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert could lose their direct mandate. Since the votes are counted nationwide, politicians from other federal states may have to enter or leave the Bundestag. This influences how many people vote and which party can mobilize its supporters.

The most exciting thing about the election is that it is a first small test of mood in a year in which many important votes still lie ahead in September with the European elections, numerous local elections and the state elections in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg. The traffic light parties, which together achieved more than 50 percent in Berlin in 2021, could now perform weaker. This also applies to the Left, which got more than 14 percent at the time. Anyone who voted for her because of Sahra Wagenknecht will have a hard time, because she now has her own party, which of course is not allowed to run for a repeat election. The AfD could become stronger. It achieved 8.1 percent in the federal election in Berlin in 2021