With only 15 days remaining until Israelis go to the polls, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) revealed on Monday how it was preparing to let 37,000–40,000 coronavirus patients and 50,000 others in quarantine exercise their right to vote on Election Day.
CEC Director-General Orly Ades told a press briefing that the committee's budget was NIS 282 million higher than the previous election campaign and will stand at a whopping NIS 674 million.
Ades said that the hike in funding was necessary to set up more polling stations, hire extra staff and implement sanitation measures meant to safeguard the health of voters.
The total number and locations of polling stations designated for COVID patients and others in isolation remain uncertain as Israel moved to open its economy, a move whose repercussions on morbidity were still unknown.
The committee raised the possibility of setting up polling stations for patients and others in isolation inside buses that will remain stationary throughout Election Day to take some pressure off other stations.
The CEC will also offer a shuttle service for COVID-19 patients who are isolating at home. Patients will be required to register online in advance and schedule the time of departure from home to a designated polling station and back.
The committee is also examining a similar outline for other Israelis who are self-isolating at home, but ultimately, they may have to arrive at their designated polling station independently.
Voting in hospitals will only be possible for patients who are mobile and can get to the polling station located in each ward. Bedridden voters will be able to use help from other patients in the ward.
Polling stations will also be placed in state-run coronavirus isolation hotels so voters can exercise their rights without breaking quarantine.
Ades also noted that the CEC was considering placing ballot boxes at Ben Gurion Airport for Israelis returning from abroad on Election Day.