Discrepancies in Data Raise Questions About Labor Party's Internet Census Forms

One of the major discrepancies in the data from Labor's internet census vs. its traditional census is the size of the membership from Arab communities

Data from the Labor Party's Internet census shows significant discrepancies between the latest results and non-electronic results still being processed. The discrepancy raises suspicions that there were members counted in the traditional party census form from communities that are not necessarily supporters of Labor.

The Labor Internet census, which was conducted for the first time this year, includes 7,169 members. The traditional census, using registration forms, shows 55,000 members.

Motti Milrod

One of the major discrepancies in the data is the size of the membership from Arab communities. The traditional census shows that 23 to 25 percent of the membership is Arabs, while the Internet census shows only nine members in the Arab community.

According to the party, the traditional census among non-Jewish communities is one of the ways candidates can inflate the number of constituents.

For example, in Kalansua, 36 members of a single clan were registered on census forms for the party, apparently legally, and became supporters of Isaac Herzog, one of the candidates for Labor leadership.

On the other hand, there is no mention in the Internet census of Arab communities. Four of the Arab members who signed up through the Internet are residents of Haifa, one lives in Rehovot, one lives in Rishon Letzion, and three live in Tel Aviv.

During the previous party census, 70 percent of the membership registration forms that were filed from Arab communities were rejected by the party.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported this weekend that 527 residents of Netivot registered as members of Labor in the previous census, even though only 197 residents voted for the party in the last election.

Many of the ultra-Orthodox who discovered that they were registered members argued that they did not know about it, and many signed on a form with a common telephone number.

Surprisingly, the Internet census did not show any members registered from Netivot, Ofakim, or the city of former party chairman Amir Peretz, Sderot.

The Internet census is considered problematic when accurately reflecting the voter map, especially for Labor. The average age of Labor members is relatively high, many of them do not have access to the Internet or do not know how to use it, and many are unwilling to give their credit card number over the Internet.

One main difference in the way the Internet census works is that it requires the participant to register on the basis of his personal credit card number.

The party, however, argued that the profile of those registering in the traditional way is the same as that of the Internet registry.

Most of those registering through the Internet did so in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem: 1,146 in Tel Aviv, 517 in Haifa and 483 in Jerusalem.

The only known case in which the Internet census requires examination involves the community of Geulim in the Sharon region, where 12 members of the same family registered under the same e-mail address.