Bill to Stop Surplus Vote' Trades Passes First Reading

Gideon Alon
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Gideon Alon

A bill that would keep political parties from swapping "surplus votes" as of the next Knesset elections passed by a 42-22 margin yesterday in the first reading.

Since the 1960s, the parties have made deals transferring their surplus votes to other parties. Surplus votes are votes that are not sufficient to count toward a seat in the Knesset.

This system has been an integral part of the elections for several decades, but MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said yesterday the method distorts the distribution of Knesset seats.

Gafni, who initiated the private member's bill, said the method involves an element of injustice, since it creates a situation in which someone votes for a specific party, but the vote actually ends up going to another party.

If the bill passes in the second and third readings, the surplus votes will be divided according to the Bader-Ofer method, which calculates the ratio between the total number of votes a specific party received and the number of seats it received, plus one. Those parties with the highest ratios get an extra seat.

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