Thousands of voters received incorrect ballot papers, potentially impacting elections

Experts have found that at least 2,171 voters were given the wrong electronic ballot papers at the polling stations in Belgium's 9 June elections. "It cannot be ruled out that this had an impact on the final distribution of seats," they wrote in their report, seen by De Standaard.

Most Belgians were allowed to vote three times, with voters in Brussels voting four times, for the federal, regional and European parliaments. Minors and non-Belgian Europeans were only allowed to vote for the European Parliament.

Some voters reported on the day that they were able to vote for the wrong candidates or elections. Some minors, for example, said they had also been able to vote in the federal elections.

Thousands of errors

Experts have now concluded that the wrong ballot papers were issued to some voters. This was stated in a recently published report by the board of experts responsible for overseeing the proper conduct of the electronic elections.

The board found that in many polling stations, the number of votes cast did not match the number of voters who turned up in each category. "Only in a minority of stations were no errors found," they wrote in their report.

"Only in a minority of stations were no errors found"

The experts checked all the cantons in Brussels and German-speaking Belgium and sampled five cantons in Flanders. They found that at least 2,171 voters in the surveyed cantons received incorrect ballot papers.

Most of the errors, almost 1,700, were found in Brussels, corresponding to 0.3 per cent of the votes cast in the capital. In the Flemish cantons, 399 incorrect votes were found, representing 0.2 per cent of the votes cast in these cantons.

"The committee must conclude that it cannot be excluded that the problem [...] had an impact on the final distribution of seats in one or more elections," the report said.

In Flanders, for example, Open VLD missed out on a seat in parliament by just 13 votes. The liberal party asked for a recount last week.



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