Parties hope for tally errors that could yield extra mandate

Deadline for challenging election results expires today.

Although representatives of various political parties were scurrying around the offices of the Central Elections Committee on Monday desperately searching for mistakes in the preliminary voting results, no party had filed an appeal against it by press time, CEC spokesman Giora Pordes said Monday. The deadline for challenging the current election results published last week after all the ballots had been counted expires at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. If no new appeals are lodged by that time, the CEC will turn the current results into the final results and publish them officially in the government gazette, Reshumot, on Wednesday, April 5. The parties who sent representatives to the CEC, including Israel Beitenu and Shas, were looking for election results that would seem irrational in specific polling stations. For example, if Shinui had received a large number of votes in a haredi area of Bnei Brak, Shas could reasonably suspect that the figures had been erroneously copied into the protocol from the voting tally sheet, where polling station officials had originally recorded the party chosen in each ballot. This is what happened in five polling stations in the Arab sector, where votes that had gone to the United Arab List-Ta'al according to the voting tally sheet, were miscopied into the protocol as belonging to the Netz Party. Such an outcome was illogical in these polling stations since Netz advocated encouraging Arabs to leave Israel. In Hebrew, Netz was one letter above UAL-Ta'al in the list of parties that appeared in the protocol. In transferring the figures from the voting tally sheet to the protocol, officials had apparently missed the right party by one. According to reports on Monday, some of the parties, including Israel Beitenu and Shas, were only a few dozen votes short of another mandate. For these parties, the effort to uncover mistakes in the protocols was obviously worthwhile. But according to Pordes, there have always been mistakes in transferring voting results from the tally sheets to the protocol, but not until this year had such mistakes resulted in one party gaining a seat at the expense of another, as happened earlier this week when Labor lost one of its mandates to UAL-Ta'al.