Sunday, June 26

High vote-by-mail in Germany casts doubt on the reliability of the polls


Berlin

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The spokesman of the German Government, Steffen Seibert, emphasized yesterday that the correct functioning of the vote by mail in the elections of Sunday is guaranteed. “The security of the Bundestag election is a great good and is guaranteed in all its formats,” he said, in response to false news appeared on social networks about a possible manipulation of the postal vote, which due to its great size in these elections will undoubtedly play an important role. According to the Federal Electoral Office, at least the 40% of voters have sent their vote in advance. Such a percentage had never occurred. In the last elections of 2017, the vote by mail was 28.6%, a maximum figure since the vote by mail was introduced in 1957. «This year, probably due to the pandemic and the risk of infection, we believe that the Voting by mail can easily be around half of the total, said electoral director Georg Thiel, minutes before the reception of the postal vote was closed at 18:00.

In Hamburg, 39.2% have applied to vote by mail, while in the 2017 elections it was only 26.4%. In Essen 31% and in Dortmund a third. In Munich, many voters requested to vote by mail but only a quarter have finally cast their vote by mail. In Düsseldorf, however, 59% of postal voters have already sent their decision. The big question for analysts is how this bulky mail-in vote will affect the results and whether the polls are reliable, since a very significant proportion of the electorate cast their vote before the electoral campaign and therefore remains unchanged, while the polls have been zigzagging.

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The party that has campaigned the most in favor of voting by mail has been The Greens. Last month, candidate Annalena Baerbock publicly called for getting ahead and casting a sanitary vote, suggesting that this party could benefit from voting from a distance. “Among the voters by mail, there are usually mainly the already convinced party supporters”, clarifies the Berlin political scientist Gero Neugebauer, who emphasizes that “the demoscopic studies are also telling us that there is 40% of the electorate that will not decide their vote until the last moment, so that there are two great blocks, the predetermined vote and the undecided one, that will mark these elections and can give last minute surprises ».

Stefan Merz, from the electoral research institute Infratest Dimap, considers that the great influence of this increased vote by mail is mobilization. «There are voters who usually do not go to vote and who have done so by mail, suggesting greater participation“, He says, specifying that people vote remotely more in cities than in rural areas and underlining the contrast between” polls that have been changing the favorite candidate and a vote by mail that had it very clear before. ” The party that has lost the most in the polls since the beginning of the campaign has been the CDU / CSU, so it is possible that they will not be affected in the results as deeply as the polls have indicated.

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