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In pictures: All the trappings of an Election Day, even without a clear winner


Germans took to the polls en masse on Sunday, charged with, among other things, finding a new chancellor.

But as the clock ticked over from Sunday night into the wee hours of Monday morning, this much was clear: They’ll be waiting a while, and so will we.

Election officials warned that a surge in mail-in ballots this year — thanks, global pandemic — could mean further delays in assembling the final tally. And once that’s in hand, it could still be weeks before we know who will take over the chancellery.

If you’re already weary of talking heads trying to make sense of it all on television, or speculative takeaways churned out on the platform of your choosing (present company excluded, of course), perhaps seeing some familiar faces — er, scenes — will help soothe your nerves.

Predictability is healing. That’s the saying, right?


We’ll start the day with, well, the day before: Participants in the inline skating event at the Berlin Marathon race past campaign posters on Saturday | John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

With the Artistic Representation of an Election out of the way, let’s switch gears to see how Sunday started, with “Important People Voting:”

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    Olaf Scholz casts his ballot at a polling station in Potsdam | Pool photo by Wolfgang Rattay via Getty Images
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    Markus Söder, leader of the CSU, heads to a booth to cast his vote in Nuremberg | Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images
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    Armin Laschet arrives at his polling station in Aachen | Sascha Schuermann/AFP via Getty Images
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    Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German president, at his polling station in Berlin | Pool photo by Kai Pfaffenbach via Getty Images

And they had plenty of help finding those polling places, should they have needed it, thanks to a multitude of “Signs Showing The Way:”

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    Voters make their way past a chalk-written message reading “Climate Election” in Potsdam | Sean Gallup/Getty Images
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    Another polling station in Potsdam … | Jens Schlueter/Getty Images
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    … and in a courtyard in Berlin … | Paul Zinken/AFP via Getty Images
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    … and in Gutach | Ronald Wittek/EPA-EFE

But what, I can hear you asking with trembling anticipation, did it look like inside these polling stations? We aim to please, and thus present “Scenes From Inside Polling Stations:”


Voters in Berlin pose for a high-key stock photograph illustrating the concept of choice — er, sorry … voters in Berlin vote: that’s what they’re doing here | Steffi Loos/Getty Images
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    But there is competition in the conceptual imagery game! Behold, an opening magazine spread, for a story about … well, that’s up for interpretation, no? We don’t like labels. (OK, fine: More voters in Berlin.) | Michele Tantussi/Getty Images
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    And kids! These little legs at a polling station in, yes, Berlin make for a smile-worthy photo, and surely a parent was the one casting a ballot, right? | Paul Zinken/AFP via Getty Images
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    But what of the hats, you ask? This voter in Gutach could not let the day pass without a trip to the haberdasher for a Bollenhut, the traditional Black Forest chapeau | Ronald Wittek/EPA-EFE
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    From heads to toes: Another view of a polling station in Gutach | Ronald Wittek/EPA-EFE
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    Is it just us, or do you also look at this polling station in Munich and envision closing out the night there, after being served a few too many Maß? | Lukas Barth-Tuttas/EPA-EFE
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OK, the voters have voted. What happens next? Well, reader, are you ever in luck, because you’ve reached “Counting Votes,” aka “Showing Motion In a Still Photograph:”


Volunteers tally ballots in Berlin | Steffi Loos/Getty Images

“Oh, was there an election today? Where?”


… or perhaps she was merely soaking up some sun in front of the Bundestag after a ballot well-cast | Martin Divisek/EPA-EFE

As afternoon turned to evening, with exit polls showing a razor-thin margin, it was clearly time for “Tension In A Time Of Uncertainty:”

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    Olaf Scholz looms large at SPD headquarters in Berlin | Steffi Loos/Getty Images
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    A balloon reads “Germany’s future. Scholz tackles it.” | Steffi Loos/Getty Images
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    The CDU headquarters in Berlin | John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

It was soon time for “Addressing The Masses:”


Armin Laschet, the CDU chair and its candidate, speaks to a crowd in Berlin, as Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on | Pool photo by Clemens Bilan via Getty Images

The masses seem to have been otherwise occupied, for the most part, during the Greens’ election-night party in Berlin, as its candidate for chancellor, Annalena Baerbock, appears via video feed | David Gannon/AFP via Getty Images

We shouldn’t be, but we can’t help it: “Looking At Charts,” and its companion piece, “Looking At Phones:”

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    Supporters of the Greens watch as exit polls are broadcast Sunday evening … | Pool photo by Filip Singer via EPA
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    … and supporters of the CDU look carefully as results trickle in | Pool photo by Carsten Koall via EPA

Soon enough, it became time for “Expressing Consternation:”


Tino Chrupalla, co-chair of the right-wing Alternative for Germany and its candidate for chancellor, at the party’s election event in Berlin | Pool photo by Martin Divisek via Getty Images

But at a certain point, it became “Time To Party,” even if there wasn’t much to celebrate.


Supporters of the Greens hit the dance floor Sunday night | Pool photo by Filip Singer via EPA

So ultimately, it’s “Looking On With Anticipation,” redux.


Bright lights, loud music … and uncertainty | Pool photo by Filip Singer via EPA

And with that, we return you to your wait. See you back here again when the next Election Day rolls around.