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Israel Election: Counting of Sealed Ballots Expected to Be Completed Thursday

450,000 votes cast by those unable to visit their polling place, like soldiers and prisoners, remain uncounted

Jonathan Lis
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Vote counting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, today.
Vote counting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, today.Credit: Emil Salman
Jonathan Lis

The counting of so-called double enveloped ballots – those by people unable to go to their designated polling place, like soldiers, prisoners, and patients in hospitals – is expected to begin on Wednesday night and be completed on Thursday. Unofficial results including all votes are expected to be released on Friday.

Counting the double enveloped ballots takes longer because of the additional steps taken to ensure that no fraud has occurred. The votes must be checked against the voter roll to make sure that no one has voted twice – once at their polling station, and once via a “double envelope,” so called because the envelope containing the ballot is sealed twice.

Once these votes are counted, results must be rechecked, with official results being provided to President Reuven Rivlin on March 31, a week after the election.

The election committee initially estimated that 650,000 people would be using double-envelope voting in this election, around double than usual. Ultimately, the drop in coronavirus cases and low voter turnout meant that the actual number was around 450,000.

Orly Ades, the director general of the Central Elections Committee, told Channel 12 News on Wednesday that the release of updated results was being delayed because the person handling the data had been awake for 48 hours and “simply collapsed.”

A statement from the election committee released shortly thereafter said that it “has not stopped uploading the data to the [election results] site because of ‘an employee who stopped to sleep.”