A bad batch of glue threatens to postpone the Austrian presidential elections. The problems is with the envelopes used for the mail-in ballots. They can’t be properly glued shut. Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka is to announce on Monday if the defective glue will cause the election to be postponed.
Under Austria’s election laws, if the envelope used for a mail-in ballot cannot be properly sealed, the ballot is invalid. Analysts mention that if the glue problem cannot be solved, the election could be challenged in the courts. Who would decide which mail-in ballots are to be counted and which are to be discounted due to improper gluing?
This is the second attempt to conduct Austria’s presidential election this year. Because of a court challenge by the right-wing party Austrian Freedom Party, Austria’s Constitutional Court annulled the first election after the Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated the Freedom Party’s candidate Norbert Hofer by the narrowest of margins. The Court found irregularities in the vote-counting process.
Van der Bellen is willing to postpone the present election until the “glue debacle” is resolved. However, the Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer insists that the election go on as planned on October 2 with no balloting by mail allowed.
Will the election be postponed? I’m sure that the readers of this blog will be impatiently awaiting the decision on Monday.
Update: The election will in fact be delayed until December. Let’s hope that by then Austria finds a source of reliable envelope glue.