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Mayoral election: excitement about ballot papers in Lamprechtshausen

Mayoral election: excitement about ballot papers in Lamprechtshausen
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Image: (Volker Weihbold)

In the 4,000-inhabitant community in northern Flachgau, only one candidate is standing for election: incumbent Andrea Pabinger (ÖVP). On the ballot papers there was initially only a circle for the cross next to the mayor, but no “yes” or “no” option.

Inevitable 100 percent result

So anyone who doesn’t want to vote for Pabinger would have had to vote invalidly. “That would inevitably have led to a 100 percent result for the incumbent mayor,” criticizes the SPÖ. That’s why the municipal electoral authority decided on a new ballot paper and the further course of action in an emergency meeting on Monday. However: Those around 80 people who have already applied for and received a voting card should not receive a new voting card.

This enrages SPÖ regional manager Gerald Forcher. He spoke of an “undemocratic approach on many levels” and called for an immediate correction of the electoral process. “Those 80 voters who vote by post must also have the opportunity to vote not only for but also against the mayoral candidate.” If there were no further procedural corrections, he announced that he would challenge the election results.

Mayor surprised

The mayor – she is also chairwoman of the municipal electoral authority – was surprised by the allegations. “It’s true, the mistake with the ballot paper shouldn’t have happened. And if I had a competitor, it wouldn’t have happened either.” The controversial ballot paper was unanimously approved at a meeting of the electoral authority – including the votes of the SPÖ.

“When we noticed that it didn’t fit, we contacted the state election authority and ordered a new ballot paper,” said Pabinger. And she assured that those people who had already received a voting card would not be deprived of their opportunity to vote. On the one hand, every citizen who has not yet sent in his or her voting card can still exchange the ballot paper for the mayoral election. The day before yesterday, Monday, a procedure was agreed upon for all of the other 80 voting cards in an emergency meeting of the municipal electoral authority.

Approved in session

If there is a cross or tick in the circle, this is considered a valid yes vote for Pabinger. If the ballot paper remains blank, it is considered an invalid vote. If the name of the only candidate is crossed out or if there is a “no” on the ballot paper, this will be counted as a no vote. The local councilors from ÖVP and FPÖ who were present at the meeting also approved this, says the local leader. Only the SPÖ representative present voted against the last two regulations.

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