Press release no. 02/22 of 11. November 2022

2021 Bundestag Election: Federal Returning Officer welcomes clarity about repeat election in Berlin

WIESBADEN/BERLIN – Polling stations in some Berlin constituencies closed temporarily as they had the wrong ballot papers or none at all and voters had to stand in line to cast their votes for other organisational shortcomings at the Bundestag election on 26 September 2021. The German Bundestag decided on 10 November 2022 that the Bundestag election is partly invalid in Berlin and ordered that the Bundestag election be repeated in 431 Berlin constituencies.

“I welcome the decision of the German Bundestag to have the Bundestag election repeated in parts of Berlin because it makes the situation clear. In my opinion, this is the right decision to ensure the public’s trust in the proper conduct of the elections in view of the considerable number and the seriousness of election errors which have occurred and because these errors may have had an effect on the distribution of seats in the Bundestag. Nevertheless, some important issues have to be settled before the next elections. We need legal certainty as to when there is an election error and whether that error has consequences for mandates. For example, at what time do polling stations have to finally close after 6 p.m. or what waiting times outside polling stations are still acceptable to voters,” said Federal Returning Officer Dr. Georg Thiel.

Procedure to be followed in case of a repeat election

The decision of the German Bundestag will become final if no electoral complaint is filed with the Federal Constitutional Court within two months by any person entitled to do so.  Any person or group of persons entitled to vote may lodge a complaint if their objection has been rejected by the German Bundestag as well as any parliamentary group or a minority of the German Bundestag comprising at least one tenth of the statutory number of Bundestag members, and any member of the Bundestag whose membership is being contested. The Federal Returning Officer and the Land Returning Officer of Berlin are not entitled by law to file a complaint. If no complaint is lodged, the decision becomes final once the deadline has expired. Then the election has to be repeated in the respective constituencies within 60 days. The Berlin Land Returning Officer will set the polling date.

The ballot papers of the repeat election will list the same parties and candidates as in the main election of 26 September 2021. There may be differences if former candidates cannot stand for election because they have died or are no longer eligible to stand for election. New voters’ registers will be created for the repeat election. The Federal Returning Officer will soon provide information on the details of the repeat election on his website.

On account of the repeat election, the result of the election to the 20th German Bundestag will be established anew. The Federal Returning Officer will determine how many seats go to the individual Land lists and what candidates have been elected as soon as the results are available from Berlin. The Federal Electoral Committee will establish the final election result in public session.

The electoral bodies involved have already started the necessary preparations for the repeat election.


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