Election in Berlin: 240 euros for volunteer work – Red-Green-Red squanders tax money



The election campaign has begun in Berlin. The documents for the postal vote have already been sent. Everything should work out better on February 12th. Under international supervision, the Berlin Senate wants to correct the embarrassment it caught a year and a half ago. After an unprecedented series of mishaps and abuses, the State Constitutional Court declared the election invalid.

Some changes are required for forced replay. The old lists of candidates apply, although some candidates have died or moved away or even changed party. The 2.7 million eligible voters in the capital are no longer identical to the 2.7 million who had a chance to vote in September 2021. But the Senate itself organized a major change.

Concerned about not being able to deploy enough poll workers in the polling stations, he has improved the state electoral code in an incredibly generous way. According to this regulation, every member of an electoral board receives a whopping 240 euros. The “refreshment money”, as it is officially called, is thus increased fourfold compared to the botched election. Members of a postal voting board still get 200 euros.

Election in Berlin: High pay attracts election workers

All the details have been improved over the old choice. Anyone who transports voting documents from the district elections office to the polling station and back receives an additional 20 euros. In the unsuccessful election, only 12.50 euros were paid for it.

The pay for volunteer work, which is unique in Germany, is having an effect. So far, 50,000 potential campaign workers have signed up for a quick buck. That’s 7,000 more than is needed.

As much as the Berliners like the 240-euro bait, it must annoy the election workers in the rest of the republic. You get 25 euros per election day, as recommended in the federal election regulations for “refreshment money”. The electoral offices in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, whose governments transfer billions to the ailing Berlin every year as part of the financial equalization process, also adhere to these guidelines. What they save is wasted in Berlin.


Two hundred years ago, the Viennese Burgtheater poet and playwright Franz Grillparzer had a bad opinion of politicians. He wrote: “The Foreign Minister cannot express himself; the Minister of the Interior is weak in memory.”

Grillparzer anticipated the memory disordered Olaf Scholz. The chancellor is soon to be questioned before a committee again, and again he won’t remember what he discussed with Hamburg’s largest private bank on tax matters.

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The procrastinating and hesitant chancellor

This behavior is embarrassing for a man who otherwise prides himself on his detail and accuracy. How well does he want to be remembered by the Germans? He works on the image of a procrastinator and a hesitant, as a runner in Europe.

Maybe he thinks it’s a sign of strength that he’s not parting ways with losers like Christine Lambrecht and Karl Lauterbach. Many voters might see it differently. You could lose the respect he talked about so often during the campaign. A chancellor who recognizes and corrects wrong appointments deserves respect. Cabinet reshuffles have often helped.

FOCUS founding editor-in-chief Helmut Markwort has been an FDP member of the Bavarian state parliament since 2018.

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