In North Rhine-Westphalia, 14 million people were able to vote for politicians at the local level. Many resorted to postal voting, but two centers had to be abandoned without further ado.

In the municipal elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, two polling stations in Bochum were cleared for post after suspicious items were found in the voting envelopes. The centers are located in schools. In both cases, the find was found around 5 p.m., the municipality announced on Twitter on Sunday. Fire brigade and police are on the spot. Further measures have been taken. Further details were initially unknown.

In a polling station in Lünen, no ballots for the district elections were distributed for two and a half hours in the morning. As the Unna district announced on Sunday, there were no ballot papers between 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM. About 150 voters were affected. After the error was noticed, the following voters at the polling station were given the correct number of ballots. After a vote with the regional electoral board, the district election management decided to continue voting in the polling station. The district polling station will later decide whether and to what extent re-election is required. At first it was not known how the failure could occur.

The number of postal voting requests had broken all records for the local elections: Up to a third of those eligible to vote in numerous cities voted in advance by mail – more than in any previous election in the most populous state, according to a survey by the German news agency revealed.

High turnout due to postal votes

In the capital Düsseldorf, nearly 30 percent of those entitled to vote had requested their voting documents by mail on Friday – about 127,000 of the 471,000. According to a city spokesperson, the number of voters by mail has almost doubled compared to the last local elections in 2014.

The trend was similar in the most densely populated municipality of Cologne. On Friday, about 251,000 applications had been received by letter from about 820,000 eligible voters – a city spokeswoman said the completed ballots would be returned as “laundry basket proof”. In Münster, too, on Thursday, about 30 percent of eligible voters applied to vote by mail: just under 76,000 of the 248,000 eligible voters.

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