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THE BALLOT slips from the last elections are seen this week at the Israel Central Election Committee Logistics Center in Shoham. .(Photo by: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Why have we not switched to online voting yet?
By ALON EINHORN
04/04/2019
It is not that the ability does not exist.
Many Israelis will wake up on Tuesday, April 9, and at some point during the day, they will vote for the next Knesset.

In order to vote, citizens must present their ID at their designated voting station, take a note carrying the letters that represent their party, place it inside an envelope and drop it inside.

The most baffling fact about the elections, is that the voting is done in 2019, in Israel, a country considered one of the most technologically advanced in the world, using paper ballots.

It is not that the ability for online voting does not exist. Online voting was experimented with before, countries like Estonia already made it possible to vote online, allowing its citizens to vote from anywhere, at any time of the day and also change their vote before the voting is over.



In Israel, Zehut held open online primaries in January for the upcoming elections using online voting. The Zehut system allowed for any Israeli citizen to vote for the party's Knesset list.

The idea of online governmental voting may sound scary, as many threats lurk in the distance, whether its hackers influencing the election votes, technical difficulties accessing the websites or voting system, or even fears it might not be friendly enough for the less technologically savvy.

However, online voting has many advantages. Many people do not vote simply because they have to get to the polling stations. Yes, it sounds absurd, but in Israel, one cannot vote in any station, only in the one assigned to the voter by the Interior Ministry, which means that some Israelis need to vote in a different city from the one they live in.

Online voting could make tallying the votes easier, more accurate, and faster.

The greatest benefit would be reducing the quarter million sheets of paper printed for the sake of voting.

The hundreds of millions of paper slips printed in the past few weeks will have fulfilled their duty next week, but essentially, they are printed, stored and then thrown away. Even if they are recycled, the environmental damage caused by these slips is enormous, especially in the State of Israel, where recycling efficiency is very low.

"In 2019, the State of Israel is conducting cyber wars with Iran and we are still using the old method of paper slips to vote," said Nir Bar David, director of the "Dudaim" recycling and environmental education park in the Negev.

Bar David stressed that, "It is not clear how an advanced country like Israel has not switched to digital voting. Changing the voting method will streamline the process of voting, counting and calculation, and more importantly, it will preserve the environment and the Earth."
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