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Border Guard officer at polling station
Photo: AFP
IDF, Border Guard polling stations open
Operational considerations prompt military forces to begin voting process early. IDF places 700 polling stations across bases

Elections kicks off before Elections Day: Two days before the rest of the nation will begin voting, military and security personnel have begun casting their ballots for Israel's 18th Knesset, with polling stations opening Saturday night at a number of bases across the country.

 

The IDF's assistant elections official, Lieutenant-Colonel Armona Baruch, told Ynet that the IDF has been preparing for the elections a number of weeks. Some 700 polling stations will be set up at military bases, many to be opened on Monday. Soldiers at smaller bases will vote at traveling polling stations.

 

 

Lt.-Col. Baruch said that soldiers had been trained to run the polling stations: "These are soldiers in compulsory service, up to the rank of staff sergeant, who will watch over proceedings at the polling stations and ensure that they are undertaken properly," she said.

 

The security forces who voted early did so out of operational considerations, since they will need to be out in the field on the day of the elections. For example, all Border Guard forces serving in the West Bank are scheduled to vote on Monday.

 

The decision stemmed form the decision to have heightened Border Guard forces deployment near an around the "seam line" and Jerusalem on Tuesday.

 

While security forces are the first people in Israel to cast their votes, government employees in embassies, consulates and other government-related workplaces around the world have already voted.

 

Some 4,500 Israelis working abroad for the government were registered. Some of these employees said they had to travel a long way to get to the nearest official Israeli polling station.

 

Efrat Weiss contributed to this report

 

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