Coronavirus: Ben-Gurion Airport polling station mulled

Special “balloting buses” will be used for sick, quarantined to vote.

Passengers in Ben-Gurion Airport amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions, Feb. 2021 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Passengers in Ben-Gurion Airport amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions, Feb. 2021
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
The Central Elections Committee is considering operating polling stations at Ben-Gurion Airport, committee head Orly Ades said in response to a question from The Jerusalem Post at a briefing for reporters on Monday.
The airport polling stations would be intended for those returning from abroad on Election Day to enable them to vote before heading for quarantine. There has never been a polling station in the airport before, and there is no voting abroad for Israelis who are not emissaries.
“It is still in the initial stages of consideration by our professional team,” Ades said. “If the idea gets fleshed out, it will come to a vote in the committee. Of course, it would be for voting on Election Day and not before.”

While the airport polling station is not final, the committee has already approved operating polling stations on special stationary buses, whose seats will be removed. The “balloting buses” will enable those diagnosed with COVID-19 and those in quarantine to vote.
Ades said the committee would fund 35,000 to 40,000 rides to the special polling stations and back to ensure that those who have the virus would not go on their own to vote and risk infecting others.
The Knesset Finance Committee approved an NIS 674 million budget for the Central Elections Committee on Monday morning, up from NIS 392m. for last year’s election. NIS 237,000 is intended to handle the unique aspects of holding an election during a pandemic.
To maintain social distancing, the number of polling stations will be increased from 11,000 to 15,000. Each station costs NIS 22,000 to operate.
NIS 17m. has been budgeted for cleaning the polling stations.
The amount of special double ballots will rise from 330,000 in last year’s election to some 600,000. Nevertheless, Ades said she expected all the votes to be counted before Passover, which begins four days after the election.