Elections committee fears fraud accusations as corona-friendly voting begins in Israel

Due to the pandemic, more polling stations than ever before will be operating throughout the country.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

As Israelis head to the polls for the fourth time in two years, this round of voting is being conducted significantly differently from past general elections.

Due to the pandemic, more polling stations than ever before will be operating throughout the Jewish State. Normally, 800 voters are designated to each polling station – this year, the number has been lowered to 600, sparking the need for additional stations to be opened.

Polling stations have been set up in retirement homes, prisons, military bases and coronavirus hospital wards, alongside segregated voting areas for coronavirus carriers and people in quarantine.

An estimated 430,000 votes from coronavirus polling stations will be delivered in a “double envelope form,” which will require several days to count.

With several parties hovering at the threshold to enter the Knesset coupled with final results that will only be declared on Friday, Israel’s Central Elections Committee is gearing up for accusations of voter fraud.

Senior officials have said that they’re already facing unprecedented accusations about the race being fixed.

CEC Director General Orly Adas told Kan News, “We all feel it in the last few days, what is happening on social media. It is impossible to ignore…and I really hope that the public will be wise enough to look at [reality] as it is, and not be dragged into unfounded [claims].”

Senior police official Yishai Shalem told Reshet Bet, “20,000 police officers will be deployed throughout Israel on Election Day…including undercover officers at polling places.

“We are ready for [potential] riots in front of government symbols, and for disagreement about the outcome [of the election.]”

Each polling station will have two impartial observers, at least one of whom must be equipped with a body camera.

On Tuesday morning, the New Hope party filed a formal complaint with the CEC stating that its ballots had been “systematically removed” from polling stations throughout the country.

Social media users complained that they had been handed envelopes marked with pen, which would automatically disqualify their vote.