Fraud Probe Reveals Additional Lapses in Israel's April Election

Police probe reveals polling monitor committee directors with criminal records and failure to brief committee members on basic procedures

Members of the Central Election Committee count votes in Jerusalem, April 9, 2019.
Emil Salman

A police probe into alleged voter fraud at Israeli polling stations led to suspicions of additional lapses  during the last election on April 9. (For the latest election polls – click here)

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 39Haaretz

The probe found that polling station monitor committees had appointed directors with criminal records, and that polling committee secretaries were not fully briefed on their roles. In some cases, committee members were not aware of basic procedures for running the polling stations or how votes were to be counted.

The police fraud squad is set to release its findings on the matter this week.

>> Read more: 'Arab voter fraud?' What's really behind Netanyahu's push for cameras in polling stations

The police gathered testimony from some 200 people, and investigated around 10 members and secretaries of polling committees.

A senior law enforcement official said: “In many cases procedure was not strictly followed. Committee secretaries were not fully briefed and didn't know what to do. In some places there were extensive irregularities, but they did not necessarily lead to fraud.”

Last month a Haaretz investigative report found that in at least 130 polling stations, ultra-Orthodox individuals represented the Arab parties in ultra-Orthodox areas, and vice versa. This data reveals that United Torah Judaism and the Arab parties had struck a deal in which they informally agreed to swap representatives without advising the Central Election Committee.

Such swaps help parties gain more power at polling stations that matter to them, in a manner that is both illegal and could open the door to election fraud and vote count irregularities.

In some of the polling stations at which Haaretz found that there were two representatives from the same party, polling station officials had reported irregularities, and in some, the reported voting rate was unusually high. Very few of these instances were probed by the Central Elections Committee.

Sources in the parties involved admitted to Haaretz that the deal had been made – and some added that they did this in the last four elections.

The police investigation did not uncover fraud as a result of the switches.