Impact of coronavirus on elections: Still no absentee balloting

©The Jerusalem Post

An individual practices voting in a Magen David Adom "coronavirus polling station" (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)

The Central Elections Committee is preparing for an election that could take place in the middle of a third wave of the coronavirus, but no drastic steps are expected to be taken, political sources said Tuesday.
Unlike the election in the US three weeks ago, there will still be no voting by mail, ballot drop off sites, early voting or absentee balloting for anyone but emissaries of the state and Zionist institutions. Nothing will be done digitally, and the ballots will continue to be counted by hand.
“Any dramatic change would have to pass in the current Knesset, and that is not going to happen,” a source familiar with the committee’s work said Tuesday.
Representatives of the Central Elections Committee will meet with Health Ministry director-general Hezy Levy next week to receive new directives for the committee to implement. Ahead of the meeting, the committee prepared a report that is dozens of pages long about how to conduct elections during the coronavirus era.
“The committee is investing time in preparing for elections impacted by the coronavirus in order to maintain the health of polling station staff and the public,” the source familiar with the committee’s work said. “We are preparing for different possibilities and incidents.”
Levy needs to tell the committee how many people will be allowed in polling stations before it can be determined how many additional stations will be needed. Adding a significant amount of polling stations will require increasing the committee’s budget dramatically.
Dividers have already had to be purchased for the committee’s offices in the Knesset and may be needed for polling stations nationwide and for the vote counting. Special masks may be required for staff at polling stations.
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There were only 15 special polling stations in the March election for voters in quarantine. This time, there may have to be dozens.
The vote counting is expected to take place in capsules. The committee is also reconsidering the process of submitting lists to run and seeking their disqualification.
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