Former MK Sanaa wants probe of alleged poll fraud

Taleb a-Sanaa files petition with the Jerusalem court calling for state commission investigation into alleged election irregularities.

Ballots in Israeli elections. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Ballots in Israeli elections.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Former MK Taleb a-Sanaa of the Democratic Arab party filed a petition with the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday afternoon, calling for a state commission investigation into alleged election irregularities.
“I have no doubt that the findings of any commission will be at the level of an earthquake,” said a statement issued by Sanaa, who was No. 5 on the United Arab List-Ta’al list that won just four seats in the Knesset, putting him out for the first time in years.
The petition attacked the election results on fundamental issues, such as allegations that the number of votes in certain areas was larger than the number of voters.
For example, in Umm el- Fahm, the petition said 326 people were listed as having voted, but 526 actual votes were counted. A similar pattern was claimed to have been detected in other places.
In another specific incident in Umm el-Fahm, the petition said the power went out at a polling station and afterward, people in the area admitted to having stuffed votes into the voting box without supervision.
In areas of the country where the petition alleged voter fraud or irregularities, it said that election law requires a redo of the election.
The petition focused mainly on Arab sector areas, such as Umm el- Fahm, Jaljulya and Sakhnin, among others.
He said the petition also alleged that certain vote combination deals – which resolved how to allocate vote totals that are not sufficient to add another seat to a party – were not properly approved by the Central Elections Committee.
Sanaa also alleged that there were group votes, using envelopes with multiple votes inside, that were delivered together.
On these issues, the petition said that an earlier estimate of votes had his party receiving five seats, which would have kept him in the Knesset.
In the end, the petition said, Bayit Yehudi received an extra Knesset seat that it should not have received, effectively “taking” a seat from Sanaa’s party.
To the extent the court might not wish to order a redo of the election in the localities referenced, the petition suggested the alternative of returning to the earlier vote estimate, which would result in taking a seat back from Bayit Yehudi and adding a seat to Sanaa’s party so he could return to the Knesset.
Sanaa’s statistics were compiled prior to the counting of grouped votes, such as that of soldiers, and prior to the rounding process used to allocate the final Knesset seats.
Where residual vote totals do not add up to enough votes for another Knesset seat, a complicated process that includes deals between parties allocates the final Knesset seats.
Next, Sanaa said that some of the vote administrators at local polling stations were threatened by rule violators.
He added that he was not accusing the committee of any wrongdoing, but that ultimately a failure had occurred in maintaining the purity and fairness of the elections.
Sanaa said he was confident that the courts would correct the injustices and that “justice would come to light.”