German cat called Bobby accidentally ends up on election ballot paper

German cat called Bobby accidentally ends up on election ballot paper

With the German federal election just around the corner, the ballot papers are being printed. In one constituency in southern Brandenburg, citizens will be presented with an amusing sight: alongside the regular political parties, a cat called Bobby appears to be battling for votes. 

Bobby the cat asks for your vote in Brandenburg

When the time comes to fill out ballots on September 26, some voters in Brandenburg will see a new name on the list: “Bobby”. Before you ask - no - Bobby isn’t a new political party. He’s a pet. He likes treats and catching mice, and he doesn’t have any policies to speak of. 

Bobby the tabby cat belongs to local resident Michael Gabler, a trained zoo keeper, who set himself up as an independent candidate in the constituencies of Dahme-Spreewald and Teltow-Fläming. How his cat ended up on the ballot paper is a rather amusing mistake - one that’s apparently causing him quite a bit of embarrassment. 

How Bobby ended up on the ballot sheet

Gabler is standing as an independent candidate in his region - but he made a bit of a mishap while registering his personal information with the regional returning officer, when he was asked for a “password” (Kennwort). 

As a relative political newcomer, Gabler assumed - as most people probably would - that the officer was asking him for a secret word to identify himself on the phone in future, and so he gave the name of his beloved cat: Bobby. 

However, a Kennwort is actually a term used to describe the candidate more closely on the ballot paper, or indicate their party affiliation, if they have one. In Gabler’s case, therefore, the name Bobby was printed in bold above his own name, where the other candidates have written, for example, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) or Social Democratic Party (SPD). 

Mistake cannot be corrected before election

By the time the mistake was identified, it was too late. The ballot sheets have already been printed and the name cannot be changed. So Gabler will stand under Bobby’s name. As uncomfortable as the whole episode apparently makes him, you have to hope the publicity will at least help him to attract a few more votes. 

But there’s a twist in the tale. According to rbb24, Bobby the cat has since gone missing. Gabler says that he’s been away for much longer than usual, and is hoping that the publicity around the story might help to return his beloved cat to him. We can’t help but wonder if the search should start around the Bundestag in Berlin



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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