Combat engineering troops kick off IDF’s vote for 21st Knesset
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Combat engineering troops kick off IDF’s vote for 21st Knesset

Hundreds of polling stations set up at IDF bases as troops cast ballots over 72 hours starting from Saturday night

A soldier casting a ballot for the 21st Knesset on April 7, 2019. (IDF Spokesman's Unit)
A soldier casting a ballot for the 21st Knesset on April 7, 2019. (IDF Spokesman's Unit)

Soldiers across the country are getting a first crack at casting ballots in Israel’s election.

Ballot boxes were opened up for troops in the Yahalom combat engineering unit Saturday night, and more polls are opening at bases across the country ahead of the Tuesday vote, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.

While most Israelis will have just 15 hours to cast ballots Tuesday, the polls for soldiers are open for 72 hours to allow for special circumstances.

Some 640 polling stations are being opened for soldiers across the country, including 130 mobile ballot booths for troops serving in isolated posts or other remote locations, according to the army.

Officials count the final ballots, from soldiers and absentees, a day after the general elections. March 18, 2015. (Photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

The soldiers are the first to be allowed to vote in Israel, where polling stations for everyone else will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday in most places, closing at 10 p.m.

Though Israel does not allow absentee voting, diplomats, other types of envoys and their families from New Zealand to California were given the first chance to be allowed to vote for the 21st Knesset late last month.

A total of 39 parties are competing in Israel’s first Knesset election since 2015 for the votes of some 6.3 million Israelis eligible to cast ballots.

A worker prepares ballot boxes March 25, 2019 at the Central Elections Committee warehouse in Shoham, before they are shipped to polling stations for the April 9 Israeli election. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

According to election officials, there will be 10,720 ballot booths set up across the country, including 190 in hospitals and 58 in prison.

Soldiers, foreign envoys, prisoners and hospitalized patients are the only Israelis allowed to cast ballots away from the polling station assigned to their place of residence.

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