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A total of 5,014,622 Israeli citizens over the age of 18 have the right to cast their votes on Tuesday for the representatives of the 17th Knesset. Thirty-one parties will be vying for their ballots.
Most polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Smaller ones, with up to 350 eligible voters, will open one hour later and close two hours earlier. Late-comers will not be allowed to vote.
Most voters have received a notification from the Interior Ministry informing them of the address and number of their polling station. The notification is for information purposes only. Anyone who has not received such notification may call a telephone information service provided by the Central Elections Committee. The telephone numbers for these service centers appear in the newspapers.
Every citizen who comes to the polling station to vote must identify himself to the secretary of the station committee by presenting either an identity card which includes a photograph of the bearer, a valid Israeli passport with a photo, or a valid Israeli driver's license with photo.
After finding the name of the voter in the voters' list and checking it off, the secretary will hand him a blue insulated envelop. The voter then enters the polling booth, which includes piles of paper slips, each representing one of the parties. Each slip contains one letter or a group of letters and the name of the list they represent. The voter chooses one slip representing the party of his or her choice, places it in the envelope and seals it. The voter then exits the booth and drops the slip into the ballot box.
Citizens who have not voted in the regular polling stations across the country, including soldiers, the disabled, prisoners, sailors and diplomatic representatives abroad will deposit their ballots in a double envelop.
After the polling booths close at 10, the committee will count the number of properly cast votes each party has received. The results will then be taken to the regional polling stations and, from there, fed into the government computer. The computer figures will then be conveyed directly to the three television networks and Central Elections Committee headquarters in the Knesset.
A few hours after 10 p.m., after a sufficient number of votes have been counted, a relatively clear picture of the final election results will emerge.
Nevertheless, over the next two days, CEC workers will count the ballots cast in double envelopes. Only then, will the final, official, results be determined.