When Pirate Party leader Ohad Shemtov approached the members of the Central Election Committee in the Knesset Wednesday to submit his party’s list for the January 22 election, he had to remove the hook from his hand and the bandana from his head, but he kept his skull-and-crossbones T-shirt on.

“There are a lot of weirdos in this building; you’ll fit right in,” Central Election Committee member MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) told Shemtov.

“You’re one of the weirdest,” the Pirate Party leader responded. His form listed 34 candidates for the 19th Knesset, and asked that the letter pay be printed on its voting slips.

Fifteen parties registered with the committee, which opened its doors to receive lists and letter requests for five hours on Wednesday, and will accept them again on Thursday evening.

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The upcoming vote will be conducted as in the past, via slips of paper dropped into ballot boxes, each with a letter or combination of letters representing a party. The 28 parties expected to register that are either new or that have run before but never made it into the Knesset will have to compete over nine unused letters: hay, zayin, yud, nun, pay, kuf, final kaf, final pay and final tzadi, or use combinations of letters.

The first party to register on Wednesday was Daam, an Arab-Jewish socialist party that has been running for the Knesset since 1999 but has yet to pass the election threshold.

The current threshold is 2 percent of the votes cast (it was 1.5% from 1992 to 2003, and 1% before 1992.) Second and third to arrive were, respectively, Strong Israel, founded by former National Union MKs Arieh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, and Habayit Hayehudi, which is running together with National Union but has only one of its 18th Knesset MKs – Uri Ariel – on its new list.

The two parties both requested the letter tet, which has belonged to Moledet, one of the parties making up the National Union, since 1988.

However, National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz, who has the first rights to the letter, decided to give permission for their use to Habayit Hayehudi, which will be using the letters tet and bet to form the word tov, Hebrew for good.

Habayit Hayehudi submitted a list of 80 candidates.

Chairman Naftali Bennett is in the first spot and leading national-religious rabbis Haim Druckman and Yehoshua Zuckerman are in the honorary last two spots.

Strong Israel’s second choice for letters is nun and tzadi, spelling netz, the Hebrew word for hawk. The party put May Golan, a 26- year-old student and activist against African migrants from south Tel Aviv, in its unrealistic 10th slot.

Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid also registered and made a letter request – pay and heh, spelling poh, the Hebrew word for here – with few surprises, as the party leader presented his list earlier this week.

Other lists to register on Wednesday include “We Are All Friends – Na Nach,” the Breslov Hassid party, which requested the letters het and nun.

The Green Leaf Liberal List submitted a list of 14 candidates.

It requested the first two letters of the word cannabis – kuf and nun – and is not running along with Holocaust survivors, as it did in the previous election in 2009.

Labor plans to submit its list on Thursday evening, with its oldest candidate in a realistic spot, MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, 76, and its youngest, social protest leader Stav Shaffir, 27, handing in the papers at the Knesset.

Former president Yitzhak Navon, 91, will be in the honorary 120th slot.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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