Federal Constitutional Court: People with care can participate in European elections

Constitutional Court ruling
:Voting rights for cared for people already apply at European elections

Federal Constitutional Court

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.

Photo:

dpa

Karlsruhe –

People with court-ordered care may vote for the first time in the European elections on 26 May. However, only on application, as the Federal Constitutional Court on Monday ruled on an urgent application from the ranks of the Bundestag factions of Greens, Left and FDP in Karlsruhe. This is much earlier than the Bundestag majority originally wanted.

The actual reasoning of the judgment did not exist yet

Affected are more than 80,000 people in Germany for whom a court has appointed a supervisor in all walks of life, for example because they are mentally or mentally impaired. This also applies to offenders who are held in a psychiatric hospital due to inability to pay.

The Second Senate chaired by President Andreas Vokuhle ruled immediately after a hearing. Vokuhle stated that the paragraphs of the European Electoral Law on the electoral exclusion of carers are not applicable to applications for entry in the electoral rolls or to object to the completeness or accuracy of the electoral rolls. The actual reasoning of the judgment did not exist yet.

Bundestag wanted to delete paragraphs – but only after the European elections

The parliamentary director of the Greens parliamentary group, Britta Haelmann, was pleased with the decision. The grand coalition had blocked on the issue of suffrage. “I’m really happy for the many people involved.” The FDP Bundestag member Jens Beeck sees the goal achieved. Anyone who has been excluded so far can now achieve participation by simply calling his community.

The Federal Constitutional Court had already decided in January that the general election exclusion of mentally or psychologically impaired people is unconstitutional. Therefore, the Bundestag wanted to delete the paragraphs with which disabled people, who are cared for in all matters, have so far been excluded in principle from parliamentary and European elections – after the will of the Bundestag majority, but only after the European elections.

High workload expected to change voter registers

For the claimants, the plenipotentiary Ulrich Hufeld spoke in the negotiation of a wrong determination of the electorate, if supporters are excluded. On the Bundestag’s side, plenipotentiary Bernd Grzeszick argued that the election was imminent. Assistants must be set up and manipulation avoided in order for people with care to choose. That takes time. Grzeszick also referred to the Code of Conduct for Elections of the European Commission for Democracy and Law (Venice Commission), according to which the right to vote should not be changed one year before an election.

The Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Stephan Mayer, pointed out that a change could now do more harm than good. “We do not have the time to change voters’ directories.” These have already been created. “We want inclusive voting rights for all,” emphasized Mayer.

Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel referred to the uneven distribution of those affected in the communities and the associated workload to change the electoral roll. However, participation of those cared for in the election is not impossible from an organizational point of view. Also from country directors came the signal that time was short, but the organization was still to be created. (AP)