Netanyahu pushing voting booth cameras bill despite A-G rejection

“This is the only way to prevent them from stealing the elections,” Netanyahu said, not elaborating on who would be doing the stealing.

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September 5, 2019 00:57
2 minute read.
Netanyahu pushing voting booth cameras bill despite A-G rejection

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit (R) during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. (photo credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to promote legislation putting security cameras in polling places despite Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s opposition, he said Wednesday evening.

“This is the only way to prevent them from stealing the elections,” Netanyahu said, not elaborating on who would be doing the stealing.

“We know there is a large quantity of fakes, something that should be prevented,” the prime minister stated in a video he released to the press. “The best way to prevent this is through cameras given to observers, that won’t be put behind the screen [of a voting booth] but they will protect the purity of the election.

“I can’t understand [Mandelblit’s] stance. We are continuing to legislate,” Netanyahu reaffirmed.

Likud plans to bring the bill to a vote next week, which is only one week before the September 17 election.

In the April 9 election, Likud election observers in Arab cities used hidden cameras, which were noticed by other ballot committee members. Central Elections Committee chairman and High Court Justice Hanan Melcer allowed them to continue to film – outside of ballot booths – as long as the cameras were no longer hidden.

The Likud observers and others found cases of ballot stuffing, including some in Arab and haredi areas; some of the cases are currently being adjudicated in court.

This has sparked months of debate and court cases, leading Likud MKs to push for a law that would ensure documentation was allowed.

Earlier this week, Melcer said the law would make it impossible for the election to run smoothly, and Mandelblit released a letter Wednesday expressing agreement.

Mandelblit echoed Melcer, writing that passing a bill at this time would “harm the free exercise of the basic democratic right to vote and the execution of the constitutional requirement to hold free, private and equal elections.”
“The bill raises many constitutional and legal difficulties, which are both significant and procedural,” Mandelblit added.

On Tuesday, the Likud argued that, due to voter fraud, UAL-Balad – now running as part of the Joint List – should not have passed the electoral threshold in April, which means that the Right would have gotten an additional seat, granting it a majority and preventing a second election from being held this year. This, however, is pure speculation, as it is impossible to know what the vote count would be if there was a revote in places where ballot stuffing took place.


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