חיילי צה"ל מצביעים בקלפיות
A soldier casts her ballot in the election for the 24th Knesset
Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
A man dressed as a clown casts his vote in Tel Aviv

Voter turnout low with just hours until polls close on Israel's Election Day

Just 51.5% of eligible voters had cast a ballot as of 6pm; election officials looking into whether logistical failure caused low turnout among coronavirus patients, those isolated at home who were allocated special sites

Ynet |
Published: 03.23.21 , 20:17
Voter turnout on Israel's fourth Election Day in two years stood at 51.5% as of 6pm, a 4.8% drop from the same time in the previous election, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) reported Tuesday evening.
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  • By 6pm, at least 3.3 million of Israel's roughly 6.5 million eligible voters had cast their ballot at one of some 13,500 polling stations spread across the country.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    ליצן מצביע בקלפי בתל אביב
    ליצן מצביע בקלפי בתל אביב
    A man dressed as a clown casts his vote in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The IDF reported 69% voter turnout among service personnel as of 6pm.
    Meanwhile, election officials also report low turnout among COVID-19 patients and those in quarantine who only showed up in small numbers to the 751 designated polling stations around Israel.
    By noon, only some 1,200 out of about 6,700 coronavirus patients eligible to vote and 1,012 out of over 22,000 quarantined citizens had used the shuttle service offered by the CEC to take them to the polling station and back.
    Election officials said they suspected these low figures could stem from logistical difficulties, after receiving many complaints from people isolating at home who were unable to coordinate a shuttle to their designated polling station. The CEC said it was in touch with the cab company operating the transport scheme.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    חיילי צה"ל מצביעים בקלפיות
    חיילי צה"ל מצביעים בקלפיות
    A soldier casts her ballot in the election for the 24th Knesset
    (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
    Meanwhile, Israeli voters expressed their concerns at the prospect of a fifth election in two years given the low turnout.
    "The atmosphere is difficult and I very much hope for change," said Benny from the central city of Ra'anana. "This is our fourth attempt and I am waiting to for sanity to return under a different government."
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    מצביעים בתל אביב
    מצביעים בתל אביב
    Voters waiting in line to cast their vote in Israel's fourth election round in just two years in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Gettyimages)
    Sarit Spitz, who also resides in Ra'anana, told Ynet that although she enjoyed the multiple days off work she has had in the previous two years thanks to recurring election days, she still had much criticism for decision makers.
    "It feels like each and every one of them is too busy with their own ego and how to promote themselves," she said.
    "If our leaders were less concerned about who the prime minister is and found a way to work together, this would have trickled down to everybody else. I'm not sure my vote was a part of a strategy or came from the bottom of my heart this time around but I believe that in the end, I made the right choice."
    "I was a bit hesitant because of the unpleasant situation in the country," said Yehudit from Tel Aviv. "A fourth election in two years is a catastrophe, it's really terrible and I hope this will end. I hope we won't meet here again for the fifth time, and I hope I voted well."
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    מצביעים בקלפי בלוד
    מצביעים בקלפי בלוד
    A young child helps their mother to cast her ballot in Lod
    Oren from the West Bank settlement of Kedumim — where Religious Zionism alliance leader MK Bezalel Smotrich lives — told Ynet that he feared a low voter turnout in the area, but that sentiment had dissipated once he saw members of his community and neighbors flocking to the polling stations.
    "In the beginning, things were very sleepy around here, but then messages started pouring in that woke everyone up. I hope this is where we end all these election rounds and we won't get dragged into another one," he said
    Members of Israel's Arab minority, which constitutes around 20% of the country's population, gave bleak predictions regarding the sector's voter turnout, which has reached record highs in previous elections.
    They attributed the potential decline to the Islamist Ra'am party splintering from the Joint list Arab party alliance and the latter's support of LGBT rights, a subject which remains taboo among the highly conservative Arab community.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    קלפי ברהט
    קלפי ברהט
    A member of Israel's Bedouin community casts his ballot in the southern city of Rahat
    (Photo: AFP)
    "[Ra'am Chairman] Mansour Abbas says he's for the rights of the proud community, which is false," Adham Odeh from Haifa told Ynet. "The Joint List has voted for canceling conversion therapy and I hope this won't affect voter turnout in the Arab sector."
    Odeh also said he thought Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempts to court votes from the sector "would only embolden members of the community to vote for Arab parties."
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