The Central Elections Committee has begun counting the over 600,000 so-called double-envelope ballots, finally determining the fate of the left-wing Meretz party and hardline Arab party Balad.
The double-envelope ballots are cast by members of security forces, prisoners, hospital patients and staff, diplomats serving abroad, residents of senior-citizen and assisted living facilities, and people who voted at polling stations for those with physical disabilities.
According to an analysis by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), the double-envelope ballots have become increasingly significant recently since their share of all ballots has more than doubled over the past few national votes — from 5.5% in April 2019 to 6.3% in September 2019, 7.2% in 2020, and 9.6% in 2021. In this week’s election, the figure is over 12.5%.
According to the IDI, in previous elections, the double-envelope ballots — which disproportionately represent young Jewish voters — tended to favor right-wing parties and trendy fringe parties, while significantly disadvantaging ultra-Orthodox and Arab parties, which would mean the chance of Balad passing the threshold is slim.