Constitutional Restrictions on Touch-Screen Voting Computers in Germany
Election Law Journal, Vol. 9, p. 443, 2010
8 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2011
Date Written: 2010
On March 3, 2009, the Second Senate of the German Constitutional Court, in a unanimous judgment of eight judges, ruled unconstitutional the use of touch-screen voting computers (sometimes referred to as “D.R.E.s” or direct recording electronic machines) in the federal general elections of 2005 – without, however, disturbing the results of those elections. In so doing the Court deviated from American decisions on the same point, such as that of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Weber v. Shelley, the Eleventh Circuit in Wexler v. Anderson and the Supreme Court of Georgia in Favorito v. Handel.
In this article, I explain the German decision and consider whether computerized voting has a future in Germany. I also suggest that the German position is preferable to that of the American courts, although to a considerable extent the German decision is to be ascribed to constitutional provisions which have no exact counterpart in the United States of America rather than to courts’ different views of the reliability of D.R.E.s.
Keywords: Constitution, Germany, Computerized Voting, United States of America
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K10, K19, K20, K29, K30, K39, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation