Elections Committee Chair: “Likud Cameras at Polls Will Cause Chaos”

The head of the Central Election Committee, Justice Hanan Melcer, said in a radio interview he gave on Thursday, September 5, that he strongly opposes the far-right Likud party’s bill to allow cameras in and around polling stations during the upcoming elections. On Wednesday, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud that their bill to legislate the deployment of cameras in polls around the country is legally problematic and cited Melcer’s earlier opinions on the matter, saying it would cause chaos and prevent some people from turning up at the polls.

Melcer said during his radio interview on Thursday: “I want to explain what the Likud’s bill means. Any party or list would be able to deploy cameras of its own… Imagine that in some polls, there are more than 30 lists that are running (and will be present at the polls) …. 30 photographers at each polling station will cause a huge state of disorder.”

The justice added that the current arrangement supplies a good answer to possible forging of votes. “In certain polls we have added a second voting station manager. Furthermore, we have established a squad of 3,000 people with cameras, who will patrol all polls during Election Day, and if any problem arises, they will be able to instantly film with our permission.” “I fear that if this [the Likud’s] bill passes there will be chaos; I call on all Knesset members not to approve this bill,” Melcer concluded.

Joint List Chair, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), said in response that polls manned by Likud mercenaries during the April 9 vote, who attempted to video and photograph there, to document alleged voting fraud, exclusively targeted Arab polling stations. Odeh cited the irony that “the only party that is being investigated for forging votes [on that day] is the one who claims to be protecting the elections’ integrity.” Odeh doubted the truth behind drive for the Likud’s proposed legislation, saying that “Netanyahu wants the bill to be rejected, so that he can keep playing the victim of the judicial system and incite against the Arab community.”