Eli Cohen set to appeal Beit Shemesh election result

Deputy Minister for Transport MK Tzipi Hotovelly calls on Interior Minister Gidon Saar to examine the possibility of holding new elections.

Beit Shemesh mayor candidate Eli Cohen 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Beit Shemesh mayor candidate Eli Cohen 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Eli Cohen, the independent mayoral candidate for Beit Shemesh who was narrowly defeated in last week’s municipal elections, is set to officially appeal the election result due to alleged widespread irregularities that took place in the voting process.
Deputy Transport Minister Tzipi Hotovely of Likud called on Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar to examine the possibility of holding new elections in light of the numerous reports of election fraud and the small margin of victory.
Incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul of Shas won the election by some 950 votes.
Campaign staff working for Cohen say they have been collecting testimony and evidence of numerous incidents of election fraud, and the Cohen campaign is expected to formally submit the appeal to the Election Clerk of the Interior Ministry in the coming days.
An appeal must be filed to the Elections Clerk of the Interior Ministry no later than 14 days after the election, which gives Cohen till November 5 to submit an appeal.
If the appeal is rejected, the campaign will likely file a suit in the Jerusalem District Court against the election process and result.
There are several lawyers working on the case for the Cohen campaign.
Nili Philipp, a campaign volunteer and Beit Shemesh resident and activist, said that she, along with numerous other members of the campaign, have collected large amounts of evidence of serious election fraud.
Philipp said that numerous reports were received of incidents in which voters had arrived at polling stations to cast their ballots only to be told that they had already voted, as well as incidents in which people presented false identity documents. One person who sought to vote with false ID was arrested at the polling station, and he subsequently led police to an apartment where 200 ID cards were discovered.
Eight people were arrested in connection to this incident.
The Cohen campaign also claims that there were hundreds of incidents of tampering at polling stations. Approximately 800 ballots were deemed invalid, 600 of which had been cast for Cohen, Philipp claimed.
Other reports included incidents in which Eli Cohen ballot tickets were stolen from polling stations, as well as cases in which the envelopes containing the ballot tickets had been tampered with.
In some cases, more ballots were cast than the number of people who registered at the polling station as having voted.