Court to hear mayoral elections appeal

Kfar Saba's defeated mayoral candidate, Benny Cabara, has appealed to the Tel Aviv district court against the results of this month's municipal elections, claiming that thousands of voting slips for him "disappeared" on election day and that thousands of others were invalidated and were not counted, reports Cabara, who won just 16.67 percent of the vote against sitting mayor Yehuda Ben Hamo's 83.33%, said the loss and invalidation of the voting slips had caused direct damage to him and to the democratic process. According to the report, Cabara filed a lawsuit with the court against the city's elections committee, stating that at 7 a.m. on election day, November 11, there were only a few or no voting slips for him at a significant number of polling stations. He said that 25,000 voting slips for him had been printed and passed on to the polling stations before the election, and that the "disappearance" of such a large number "damages the democratic process, the cleanliness of the elections, the equality of opportunity that is the right of all candidates... (and) represents a prominent breach of the law on elections." The lawsuit also said that some 3,000 voting slips for Cabara - 10% of all the mayoral votes - were dismissed as invalid during counting. It said that some hours after voting began, new voting slips for Cabara were brought to the polling stations to replace those that had disappeared, and even though the elections committee had approved the new slips, some of its members then rejected them during counting because their yellow color was slightly different from the yellow on the standard mayoral voting slips. "They (the elections committee) were the ones who invalidated the slips that they themselves instructed be printed and approved the color. Can this be believed?" the lawsuit said. The report said the court would soon issue its decision, and that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss had also begun investigating the incident.