Final voter turnout for second round of municipal elections was 46.1%, Interior Ministry says

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

According to the Interior Ministry, 443,595 people, or 46.1 percent of eligible voters, cast ballots in the second round of Israel’s nationwide municipal elections, which ended at 10 p.m. on Sunday.

The ministry reports that 28.76% voted in Haifa, 60.7% in Beit Shemesh, 40.57% in Ramle, 47.7 in Rehovot and 84.52% in Deir al-Asad.

Elections were held today in 35 locations where none of the candidates running for mayor managed to secure the 40% of ballots necessary to win in the first round of municipal elections two weeks ago.

The day was not a legal holiday, unlike the first round at the end of last month, and voting was being restricted to between the hours of 1-10 p.m.

“I would like to thank the thousands of residents who exhibited good citizenship and came out again today to vote,” says Interior Minister Moshe Arbel.

“Thank God, everything went as expected,” he continues, stating that collaboration between the ministry, IDF, police and National Cyber Directorate “enabled normal and continuous voting, while ensuring the purity of the elections.”

According to the ministry, the final results of the election will only be published after the double envelopes from soldiers and others unable to cast ballots at their local polling stations are counted.

In a statement earlier on Sunday, the Interior Ministry released the final audited numbers for voter participation in the first round, held on February 27. Around 3.8 million out of 7.08 million eligible voters, or 53.7 percent, cast ballots — down from 56.9% in 2018 but up from 51% in 2013.

According to Ryan Ghanem, the national election inspector, several attempts at fraud and ballot tampering were caught by polling officials, prompting the ministry to call for increased vigilance.

The ministry did not state where the alleged fraud occurred but during the first round of elections, police detained multiple suspects linked to alleged fraud in Beit Shemesh.

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