Possible electoral fraud in Austrian presidential election
As the days go by, the results of the Austrian presidential election get more suspicious. According to the official results, the far-left candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated Norbert Hofer from the Freedom Party of Austria by just 31,000 votes, 50.35% to 49.65%.
The lights were already blinking red on the day the results were being released. Writing for Breitbart soon thereafter, James Delingpole didn't mince words and called the election a sham:
We were continually assured by the left-liberal media how awful it would be if the (supposed) "far-right" candidate Norbert Hofer won. But actually the victory of Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen – on, likely, a rigged ballot – is far, far worse. It's bad for democracy: Hofer lost by just 31,000 of the 4.64 million votes cast. Suspicions are bound to fall on the 700,000 votes cast in the postal ballot, which appears to be what swung it for Van der Bellen. But postal votes as we know – especially from the experience of Muslim-dominated constituencies in the UK – are prone to rampant fraud. Austrians who voted for Hofer are talking about "betrug" – fraud – and this may well be more than sour grapes. In some areas there was a remarkable 146.9 percent voter turnout. This stinks of a stitch up by the bien-pensant elite in unholy alliance with the immigrant bloc vote.
Austrians should be concerned. There are red flags all over these results.
Emotions are running high in the European nation, and Hofer has – perhaps far too graciously, given the circumstances – called for calm and said there "was no sign of fraud in the election." The Freedom Party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, also was a little too quick to accept the official results, claiming that "there is a democratic result that should be recognized."
A large number of Hofer's supporters clearly take a more critical view. An online petition disputing the election results is already at 27,500 and climbing.
But as of yesterday, the Associated Press is reporting that, based on apparent complaints from some officials in the Freedom Party, "Austria's interior ministry has asked the state prosecutor's office to follow up on apparent regional irregularities in the absentee vote count for the country's presidential election."
In the first round of the election on April 24, Hofer easily won with 35% of the vote, besting Van der Bellen in second place with just 21%. For the second round, a provisional result released on May 22 gave victory to Hofer with a 51.9%-to-48.1% lead over Van der Bellen.
The provisional result shocked the left-wing establishment across the EU but was consistent with both major polls released in the last days before the election, which reliably showed Hofer with the majority of public support over his rival, 52.3% to 47.7% and 53% to 47%.
And then those magical absentee ballots were counted on May 23, which somehow entirely reversed the election results, giving victory to Van der Bellen. The math on their impact verges on the implausible.
We know there were about 700,000 absentee ballots counted. Knowing what Hofer's level of support was (51.9%) before these ballots were counted, and the final results, it appears that his support must have somehow dropped to around 37.5% for the absentee ballots to give Van der Bellen (who garnered about 62.5% on these absentee votes) the overall win.
One potentially expects small but significant deviations between the absentee vote distribution and that from in-person polling stations, but a difference of nearly 15% either way that shifted the vote from a 3.8% lead for Hofer on the in-person ballots to a 25% lead for Van der Bellen on the absentee votes? That seems most unlikely.
Then there are the massive numbers of "invalid" ballots that appeared in the second round. Approximately the same number of total ballots were cast in the first (4.37 million) and second (4.64 million) rounds, yet in the first round, just 2.1% (92,655) of the ballots were invalid, while the second round had 3.6% (165,212) invalid ballots – even though the second-round ballot was far simpler, with just two candidates and a clear binary choice, versus at least six candidates on the first-round ballot.
Investigating this election – particularly the nebulous absentee ballots – will be a major challenge for the Freedom Party. The Austrian bureaucracy is undoubtedly, as with all bureaucracies, biased far to the extreme left, meaning a fair and objective investigation is a near impossibility. Probably the only way to resolve this controversy will be to hold another election with a much greater level of domestic and international oversight and require all ballots to be cast in person under the watchful gaze of trained observers.