Likud MK vows voting reforms can be passed before Election Day

Critics of the legislation in the Knesset warned that Karhi’s proposals would violate the right to privacy and discourage minorities from voting.

Likud MK Shlomo Karhi (photo credit: SHLOMO KARHI)
Likud MK Shlomo Karhi
(photo credit: SHLOMO KARHI)
A series of reforms whose sponsor MK Shlomo Karhi initiated to "increase transparency" and whose critics warn would cause politicization, can be passed before elections, even if they are advanced, Karhi told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday.
Karhi, who is the Likud’s representative to the Central Elections Committee, said he would soon bring his electoral reform bills to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee.
The bills call for cameras in every polling station, putting the list of eligible voters online, stamping voters to prevent them from casting a ballot with another identity card, publishing voter turnout from every polling station online, scanning protocols of polling stations when they close and synchronizing data on who is abroad and who voted.
Karhi also wants the Knesset Finance Committee to have more control over the Central Elections Committee budget and give the representatives of parties on the Central Elections Committee more access to voter data.
“These proposals will help maximize turnout,” Karhi said. “Whoever opposes them must have something to hide.”
But critics of the legislation in the Knesset warned that Karhi’s proposals would violate the right to privacy and discourage minorities from voting. Representatives of the Central Elections Committee intend to oppose the changes when they are asked in meetings of the Knesset Law Committee.
“All of it is problematic, and some of it is scary,” said a spokesman for an opponent of the changes who intends to testify to the committee against them.
Karhi also intends to submit a bill lowering the electoral threshold from 3.25% to 2%. He denied reports that the bill was intended to enable the United Arab List party to run on its own, because its leader, MK Mansour Abbas, has said he would consider voting for bills that would help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu evade prosecution.
“When the threshold was raised, it was intended to make it easier to govern, but that has not happened,” Karhi said. “What happened was technical bonds between parties like Blue and White and Labor-Meretz-Gesher. Instead of stability, there is chaos.”
Karhi took credit for stopping an initiative to allow absentee balloting in the current race going on for mayor of the town of Tel Mond in the Sharon region. Blue and White MKs wanted to allow absentee voting for residents who have the coronavirus, but Karhi stopped it, warning that it would then be adopted nationwide.
“I stopped people from being to have polling stations in their homes,” he said. “There are many ways of voting in other countries that enable forgeries. It is better to just add more polling stations instead.”