A hidden camera worn by a Likud activist at a polling station

Outrage as Likud activists secretly film voting in Arab communities

Police, elections ruling body intervene as party claims cameras placed in 'problematic' locations; Hadash-Ta'al: Extreme right-wing using illegal means to prevent Arab citizens from voting.

Likud activists secretly placed 1,300 cameras in polling stations in Arab communities Tuesday, claiming that these locations were "problematic" and vulnerable to election fraud, Ynet has learned.



Some of the cameras were apparently used by election observers from the Likud, who were monitoring the process at polling stations.



A hidden camera worn by a Likud activist at a polling station
A hidden camera worn by a Likud activist at a polling station


The Arab-Jewish socialist party Hadash-Ta'al issued a complaint to the Central Elections Committee in wake of the discovery of the cameras, seeking their immediate removal.


A Likud activist is caught wearing a hidden camera at a polling station (video in Hebrew)


"The extreme right-wing understands very well we have the power to topple the government and crosses every red line by using illegal means in an attempt to intervene and prevent the Arab citizens from voting,” said the Hadash-Ta'al party in a statement.


The other joint Arab list, Ra'am-Balad, also filed a complaint with the committee, demanding that an injunction be issued against the Likud and other right-wing parties, on the grounds that "the electoral process has been obstructed." Balad party chairman Jamal Zahalka said that installing the cameras was "an illegal measure designed to scare the electorate and dissuade them from voting and realizing their basic rights."


The complaint also prompted police officers to visit the polling stations in question in order enforce Israel's ban on filming voters.


The head of the Central Elections Committee, Justice Hanan Melcer studied the complaint and stated that "voters were not filmed while voting." He instructed that filming is prohibited during voting hours unless there is a genuine concern for the integrity of the voting process, such as if threats were issued against a voting committee member, bribery offers or expectations of violence.


Melcer added that after the polls are closed, the vote counting process can be filmed as long as those participating are aware and that they are notified on camera.


The Likud gave its activists a pamphlet saying that since in the last elections some members identified improper behavior in the Arab sector that have harmed the democratic process, the party has decided to maximize the representation of right-wing observers at the polls in order to ensure a flawless process.


In the elections of 2015, there were 712 reports by observers on behalf of the right-wing parties of irregularities and attempted fraud at polls in Arab towns.


Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that some of the hidden surveillance cameras were planted on election observers at the voting locations in order to monitor that voter fraud is not taking place and that great financial efforts must have been put into the operation.


The chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Justice Hanan Melcer, said that filming inside polling stations during the vote is “prohibited unless there is a special circumstance.” Melcer added that filming during vote counting at the station is “allowed but election officials will have to be notified.”


Melcer also addressed reports of ballot slips being invalidated by having markings drawn on the back of them in several locations across the country, saying he might consider accepting spoiled ballots if the issue was shown to be widespread.


There were also reports of ballot slips being compromised in at least 10 polling stations across the country. The elections committee said it was examining whether similar incidents had occurred in other locations, so as to access the full magnitude of the phenomenon.


פרסום ראשון: 04.09.19, 16:23
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