Over 300 ballot boxes arrived at Knesset very late, causing an hours-long delay in the counting and processing of ballots cast in the election for the 24th Knesset, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) said Wednesday evening.
According to the polling body, the ballot boxes only arrived at Knesset around noon.
At some 180 polling stations from all across the country, poll workers accidentally ripped out the original page from the protocols instead of the copy. Consequently, poll workers struggled typing in data received from said polling stations and had to recount the ballots.
About 90 out of 180 protocols were reproduced and added to the general count. After the process is complete the remaining polling stations will be processed and the updated results will be uploaded onto the CEC's website. So far, the results from 11,831 polling stations have been tallied and processed.
The CEC released an update at 9:38am Wednesday, according to which 97% of regular polling stations have been processed, accounting for 88% of all votes cast.
Polling workers began processing the late-arriving ballots at noon and released the next update after 5pm.
After an hours-long wait, ballots from some 90 more polling stations had been tallied, with 296 others left.
The CEC has yet to process votes from 46 polling stations in Tel Aviv, 38 in Jerusalem, 17 in Netanya, 15 in Petah Tikva, 7 in Bat Yam, 6 in Ashdod, 5 in Raanana, 4 in various kibbutzim, 3 in Haifa, 3 in Kiryat Bialik, 3 in Rishon Lezion, 2 in Nahariya, 1 in Kiryat Ono, 22 polling stations in non-Jewish localities and others.
The latest update at 5pm shows that Mansour Abbas' Ra'am party has surpassed the electoral threshold and will be part of the 24th Knesset.
This CEC denied an earlier comment by its chairwoman Orly Ades that appeared to indicate the vote count has been held up due to the official in charge taking a nap.
The CEC will begin counting an estimated 450,000 absentee ballots in the evening hours once all regular polling stations have been processed. Poll officials said they hoped to conclude the tally by Friday morning.
In Israel, anyone voting outside a regular polling station assigned to them according to their place of residence has to arrive at a designated polling station where their ballot will be inserted into two envelopes.
The double envelopes are then all brought to Knesset to be counted by CEC representatives. The process takes longer than the regular count as officials cross-reference the person’s details on the outer envelope to ensure they have not also voted elsewhere. In case a citizen has cast a vote both at the polling station near their home and an absentee ballot, the latter will be disqualified.
After this is completed, the anonymous inner envelopes are amassed together and the ballots within can be counted like all other votes.