Polls in two Arab towns temporarily closed over illegal filming, fraud

Various parties began complaining of irregularities at polling stations in the first hours of voting.

By
September 17, 2019 20:26
3 minute read.
A police officer in a polling station

A police officer in a polling station. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

A polling station in Umm el-fahm was closed on Tuesday morning after an election observer attempted to illegally film the goings-on.

The observer was replaced and then the ballot was re-opened, police reported.

The Joint List provided a video of the observer being escorted from the polling station. He was likely from United Torah Judaism (UTJ), and dressed in the garb of a non-hasidic “Litvak” haredi.

Later on Tuesday, police temporarily closed three polling stations in Yarka, in response to a report of attempts to vote using several envelopes at a time.

The incidents followed the Likud campaign in the run-up to the election that put an emphasis on voter fraud allegations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that there has been an attempt to “steal the election.”

The Likud’s voter fraud prevention efforts focused exclusively on Arab areas, and included a failed attempt to pass a law allowing party appointed election observers to bring cameras into polling stations, but not voting booths. In addition, a group of settler leaders raised funds to send people to stand outside polling stations in Arab towns, saying they would protect observers.

The police also received a complaint of a 40-year-old man trying to vote under someone else’s name in Kafr Kassem. The man was stopped for questioning.

In addition, police detained a 17-year-old for questioning after he entered a polling station in Jerusalem intending to vote with a fake ID.

Likud reported to police that a Blue and White activist beat up one of their activists in Ramat Gan.

Police arrested a suspect who allegedly threw a firecracker at a polling station in Abu Ghosh.

Meanwhile, various parties began complaining of irregularities at polling stations in the first hours of voting.

According to Yamina, voting slips for their party were replaced with slips for the New Right from April at a polling station in Hadera. The New Right is one of three parties running in the Yamina bloc, but it ran alone earlier this year.

Similarly, Labor-Gesher reported finding slips in Beersheba that said Labor led by Avi Gabbay, as the party was called in the last election.

Yisrael Beytenu said there was fraud at two polling stations in Ashdod. In one, its voting slips were covered, and in another, voters were told not to seal their envelopes shut. Votes in unsealed envelopes still count, though it makes them more susceptible to sabotage.

In addition, Yisrael Beytenu said that their party’s slips were removed from a polling place in Arad. They blamed Gerrer Hassidim, who support UTJ, for the wrongdoing.

Shas reported that in Herzliya, haredi women were not permitted to vote because the ballot secretary said she could not recognize them with their head coverings on.

Labor-Gesher said that a polling station in Bnei Brak was missing slips for their party, and voters were told that the party won’t pass the electoral threshold.

All the incidents were reported to the Central Elections Committee. Yamina asked that the New Right slips be counted for their list. Reports of similar irregularities came in throughout the day on Tuesday.

These kinds of incidents are not unusual and occur sporadically in Israeli elections.

Meanwhile, the Central Elections Committee reviewed petitions of parties’ Election Day campaign efforts.

One of the more unusual petitions came from Nobel Prize-winning economist Prof. Robert Aumann, who complained that Otzma Yehudit falsely claimed that he said they would pass the electoral threshold.

Central Elections Committee chairman Hanan Melcer stopped the Likud from operating an ice cream truck and giving out free frozen treats to voters, and Blue and White from leading a parade in Tel Aviv.

Democratic Union petitioned against Shas distributing prayer books and good luck charms, which are illegal election gifts.


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