MK proposes bill to give workers municipal election day off

Yisrael Beytenu MK concerned about low turnout for this week's cross country municipal elections.

Voters Jerusalem elections 2013 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Voters Jerusalem elections 2013 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Municipal election day should be made a day off from work, in light of this week’s low turnout rates, MK Shimon Ohayon posited on Thursday, submitting a bill to that effect.
Only 51 percent of eligible Israelis voted in Tuesday’s municipal elections, with even lower numbers in big cities like Tel Aviv (31.3%) and Jerusalem (36%).
Ohayon (Yisrael Beytenu) wrote in the bill’s explanatory portion that voter participation numbers have decreased over the decades, calling it a “worrying trend that apparently indicates apathy.”
“The bill will help residents who are interested in voting but don’t have time because of work,” Ohayon explained. “ It will also allow parents to spend the day with children who don’t have school, because their school buildings are used as polling places.”
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, whose ministry is responsible for the municipal elections, made a similar suggestion.
MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua), a former interior minister, took the idea one step further and said in a speech to the Knesset on Tuesday that not only should municipal election day be a day off, but anyone who doesn’t vote should have to pay a fine.