Independent candidate Marcus Dittrich must have felt a sense of incredible relief when the final vote count for the mayoral election on May 21st showed he had beaten rival Petra Werner by a single vote.
But the state parliament in Hesse decided on Wednesday that he will have to go through the whole ordeal again, after one voter complained that he had fallen for a practical joke, Hesseschau reports.
The man said that after placing a cross by his preferred candidate on his ballot paper he had been unsure of whether to sign the ballot. So he called from inside the booth to a volunteer standing outside, and asked whether to write his signature on the paper. When the volunteer replied in the affirmative, he signed the paper, thereby unwittingly invalidating his vote.
The volunteer confirmed the story. But claimed that he hadn't taken the question seriously, believing the man to be joking. He had replied to the absurd question with an absurd answer, he said.
The rerun of the election is likely to be held in November.