Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit says he is concerned that low voter turnout rates in Tuesday's municipal elections will prompt distorted results.
"When people do not come out and vote, they make other elements, which they do not want, gain strength," the minister said, about an hour and a half before polling stations were scheduled to close.
At the time, the turnout rate in Jerusalem stood at 36%, compared to 30% in Tel Aviv and 33% in Haifa.
Turning his attention to the Jerusalem municipal elections, Sheetrit said: "It's clear that the results will be completely distorted. The same is true for Haifa and other locations. The implication of a low turnout rate is that small groups that are better organized gain strength that is two or three times their real power in the public."
"In my view, this is complete distortion of democracy," Sheetrit said.
The interior minister said he was particularly concerned about the low turnout in the Jewish sector, calling on residents to hit the polls.
"It's not too late yet – I'm calling on all voters to cast their ballots," he said.
"We are far off our objective," Sheetrit said. "This is simply a case of irresponsibility when people fail to fulfill their duty to vote…I have seen declining turnout rates over the years. This is dangerous indifference, and perhaps the time has come to consider sanctions against those who fail to vote. We need to think about fining those who do not vote."