Israeli voters defied widespread expectations for low turnout in the country’s second election of the year, with officials registering 69.4 percent of eligible voters as having cast their ballots Tuesday as polls closed at 10 p.m.
The result was actually slightly better than April’s 68.5% — a 0.9% increase and the second best turnout since 1999.
The figures do not include ballots of active duty soldiers or others allowed to submit absentee ballots, which are counted last, and will likely shift the final tally somewhat.
Throughout the day, numbers provided by the Central Elections Committee consistently showed a 1.5%-2% increase in voter participation, compared to April’s ballot, as the hours passed.
In the lead-up to the vote it had been widely believed that turnout could end up significantly lower than in April’s election, due to voter fatigue and many Israelis traveling abroad as the fall holiday season begins.
Tuesday’s vote was the second national election in five months, after the April election failed to produce a coalition. Political figures across the board sought to counter expected voter apathy by urging citizens to cast their ballots.
Throughout the day, largely ignoring the CEC statistics, most political parties were busy warning their voters of incredibly low turnout in partisan strongholds, as they sought to energize voters and bring out stragglers to polling stations.
That approach was part of what has come to be known as “gevalt” campaigning, with parties competing with each other, with their dire predictions for their expected results.