After the editor of the German newspaper Die Zeit had admitted in a talk show on live television to have voted twice in the European elections last weekend, a discussion has started in the German media about the voting process. Giovanni di Lorenzo, head of Die Zeit, says he could vote twice because he is in possession of an Italian and a German passport.
Now Der Spiegel is reporting in its latest issue that as much as eight million Europeans could have potentially voted more than once — not only by having two passports, but also by living in another European member state than their home state and by voting in both countries. According to T-Online — which in turn quotes the print edition of Der Spiegel — the former President of the German Constitutional Court, Hans-Jürgen Papier, said that the vote could be considered void if indeed millions of voters used this loophole.
The election review committee of the German Bundestag is apparently preparing a “rigorous check” to see if this problem could have influenced the election in a meaningful way. That is according to Green MP Volker Beck, who is part of the committee. Apparently the Bundestag has received several letters from voters objecting to the results of the vote and citing the loophole.
According to Der Spiegel, most EU countries do not track at all whether a person has already voted in another EU member state. Voters have to sign a statement denying that they have already voted, but since that can’t be checked on, people can easily commit voting fraud.
Several constitutional scholars have told the magazine that a suit before the Constitutional Court (BVerfG) would likely succeed. For the vote to be repeated, it would have to be proven that the problem was bad enough to significantly affect the results of the election, which is unlikely. It seems likely, however, that the court would force the German government to institute checks before the next election. Several high ranking German politicians have apparently indicated that this is badly needed as well.
In the unlikely event that the court finds that the manipulations were bad enough to significantly influence the election, the German Bundestag would have to have a vote deciding if it recognises the outcome of the election.