Erik Kirschbaum of the Los Angeles Times appears to be deeply troubled. According to last May’s official count, Austria Green Party presidential candidate Alexander van der Bellen defeated Norbert Hofer of Austria’s far-right “Freedom Party” by 30,863 votes. Now, as the result of what Kirschbaum describes as “irregularities in the counting of absentee ballots,” Austria’s Constitutional Court has ordered a second, nationwide election for the largely ceremonial post. From a political perspective, Kirshbaum’s concerns are understandable. After all, we are talking about providing a second opportunity for a presidential candidate whose “Freedom Party” was founded by former Nazis. But, as Brad Friedman has so frequently urged, election integrity is not about Left or Right. It’s about right and wrong.
In that light, the July 1, 2016 decision issued by Austria’s Constitutional Court represents a major victory for election integrity — one that elevates what it describes as the fundamental prerequisite of ensuring “transparency in the establishment of the electoral result.”
The court ruled that two individuals in each election district — a chief and an assistant election officer — must be personally present during the opening and counting of all mail-in ballots. Anything less opens up the prospect of a manipulated count.
Significantly, the party challenging the electoral result does not have to prove a manipulation of the result. If it was possible to manipulate enough ballots to alter the outcome, the official results must be set aside and a new election scheduled.
Full Article: Austrian Court’s Call for Second Presidential Election is a Victory for Election Integrity | The BRAD BLOG.