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Comptroller fumes as Knesset panel delays report on Central Elections Committee

Report deals with CEC computer systems, though it is said to contain no severe issues; one CEC official believes it could be used by those who wish to delegitimize vote’s results

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman during the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Israel, January 23, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman during the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Israel, January 23, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman is pressing for the immediate release of a report on issues with the Central Elections Committee’s computer systems during Israel’s three elections in 2019-2020, but has been blocked by the Knesset State Control Committee.

Englman has sought the release of the report, which has security aspects that must be approved for publication by the committee, before Tuesday’s election, but committee head MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) has prevented it, according to multiple media reports.

In a statement Friday, the comptroller’s office told Kan news that “the attempt to minimize discussion of the report dealing with the CEC is deliberately misleading… We cannot but express amazement that the public’s right to know is not [being respected].”

An unnamed official in the CEC told Calcalist earlier this month that publishing the report immediately before the election “could be a godsend to those who wish to delegitimize the election results at all costs.”

Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern attends a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on November 13, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The official said the timing of the planned report’s release shortly before the new vote was questionable in and of itself, particularly as “all professional officials say the report does not contain issues that require immediate amendment.”

According to Calcalist, both sides concur that the report does not contain any serious findings against the CEC.

The CEC’s computer systems drew scrutiny during the April 2019 election when erroneous data was posted to the committee’s official website, causing results posted there to differ from the official ones.

The CEC said at the time that the errors on the site were the result of a software glitch that prevented the site from displaying the vote tallies in real-time, and did not represent an issue with vote-counting itself.

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