Rising Arab voter turnout could help Blue and White – analysis

In general, voter participation rates since 1999 are about 10% lower than those of earlier elections, which averaged about 80%.

An Israeli-Arab father casts a ballot together with his children, as Israelis vote in a parliamentary election, at a polling station in Umm al-Fahm, Israel April 9, 2019 (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
An Israeli-Arab father casts a ballot together with his children, as Israelis vote in a parliamentary election, at a polling station in Umm al-Fahm, Israel April 9, 2019
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Voter turnout in the Arab sector rose by 10 percentage points from the April 2019 to the September 2019 elections, the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) noted in a research report analyzing voter behavior in the past two elections.
The report, written by Dr. Ofer Kenig, Arik Rudnitzky, and a team of IDI researchers, noted that the Joint List, a coalition of the four largest Arab-majority parties, received 80% of the votes in Arab locales. It said that Blue and White is the only Jewish party that represents a viable option for Arab voters, after Meretz lost favor with them when it joined the Democratic Union.
Total voter participation in the second elections in September rose slightly to 69.7%, from 68.5% in the April elections, despite the “voter fatigue” that is frequently found in second elections in other countries. The rise was mainly attributed to higher turnout in the Arab sector, which rose to 59.2% from 49.2% – a more than 20% increase. Voter turnout decreased in almost every other sector.
In general, voter participation rates since 1999 are about 10% lower than those of earlier elections, which averaged about 80%.
 

An analysis of eight cities considered to be Likud strongholds found that the party lost about 40,000 votes in the second election in those cities, with most of those voters moving their support to Yisrael Beytenu (which gained about 30,000 votes) and Shas (which gained about 18,000 votes). National religious-Zionist parties in these cities gained about 6,000 votes, but it was suggested that most of those probably voted previously for Zehut (Moshe Feiglin's party), which did not run in September.
In Tel Aviv, support for Blue and White surprisingly dropped significantly between the two elections, as it lost nearly 10,000 votes in September compared to April. Meretz was the biggest gainer, followed by Yisrael Beytenu.
 

Likud lost about 10,000 votes in Jerusalem in the second election, finishing 5,000 votes behind United Torah Judaism in the capital. More than 75% of Jerusalem voters in the last election voted for the Likud, ultra-Orthodox or religious parties.
 

The cities with the highest voter turnout in September were Elad (85.8%), Modiin Ilit (84.5%), and Beitar Ilit (82.7%). The lowest turnouts were recorded in Eilat (45.2%), Umm el-Fahm (51.3%), and Bat Yam (52%).
 

Regarding proposals to ramp up voting participation, the IDI report recommended making it possible for people to vote where they live temporarily, rather than having to travel to a polling station in their permanent place of residence, as well as temporarily giving citizens residing abroad the right to vote. The IDI researchers do not believe that mandatory voting – as exists in 30 counties – is feasible, mainly because of anticipated difficulties in enforcement.