In a brazen case of electoral fraud, a Likud representative was allegedly caught attempting to stuff a ballot box at a polling station in the northern Arab Israeli village of Fureidis on Tuesday.
According to The Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language site Zman Yisrael, an unnamed man arrived at the village polling station in the evening, claiming to be a Central Election Committee representative. Around 8 p.m. he asked the representatives of the various parties present to exit the room for a briefing, leaving behind only representatives of Likud with the unattended ballot box.
When one of the representatives attempted to reenter the polling station, he was physically prevented from doing so by a Likud counterpart. When the other representatives finally got through, they found one of the Likud representatives behind the screen next to the ballot box.
“We saw that he left behind more than 100 stamped envelopes, some open and some closed, and inside of the closed ones were ballot slips for Likud,” a representative told Zman, adding that a complaint had been lodged with both the police and the Central Elections Committee.
Also on Tuesday, police temporarily shut down five polling stations in the Druze village of Yarka on suspicion of election fraud. Police described “a suspected attempt to bring voting envelopes into the polling places” as well as an incident in which a man apparently cut the power and “stole” a number of voting slips.
Thirty-five percent of voters in Yarka supported the Likud in April’s election, more than any other party, according to Central Elections Committee records.
There were several other disruptions reported during Tuesday’s voting, Central Elections Committee director Orly Adas said, many of them related to illicit filming at polling stations.
In the Bedouin city of Rahat, police said it had detained a man on suspicion that he had tried to insert several voting envelopes into the ballot box.
The Central Elections Committee deployed 3,000 of its own observers Tuesday to ensure voting proceeds legally and without disturbances. Some 20,000 police officers were also deployed to polling stations.
Netanyahu has made repeated allegations of widespread voter fraud, claiming that Tuesday’s election would be being “stolen” from him, because of a lack of enforcement against “rampant” voter fraud in Arab communities.
However, the evidence Netanyahu has presented proving such fraud has been limited at best, with the Central Elections Committee saying it has not established any significant cases.
Police arrested more than 20 people on election-related violations on Tuesday, and 69 investigations were launched against individuals suspected of voting fraud.