The returns are in – and among electoral activists in Judea and Samaria, the vote is almost unanimous: Voter fraud in Arab communities is rampant, and something must be done immediately to prevent a repeat of the massive fraud the activists said took place in last month's elections.
No less a figure than Judge Elyakim Rubinstein, Chairman of the Elections Committee for the 19th Knesset, suggested placing cameras in polling places to prevent ballot-box stuffing and other types of fraud. Even though voting is supposed to be a private affair, said Rubinstein, allowing elections to proceed based on fraud was unacceptable.
Rubinstein made the suggestion in a document released Tuesday, discussing problems that occurred during the elections, and how to prevent them from being repeated. Groups were invited from around the country to make their cases, and among the largest group represented was that of election activists in Judea and Samaria – and they apparently made an impression on Rubinstein.
Some 300 activists from the Samaria Residents Council stationed themselves at polling places in Arab communities on election day. During the course of the election the activists recorded over 70 examples of direct, egregious fraud, and dozens of other suspicious activities that they were unable to attribute directly to fraud.
Sagi Kleiser, chairman of the Council, worked on election day as an observer in a polling station in the Arab village of Arabeh, in the lower Galilee. “The election administrators assured me that everyone would vote – and for those who did not show up at the polls, their votes would be equally distributed among all the parties, so that each party got an extra 50 votes,” he said, adding that they offered him a “bonus” of 20 votes for the Likud if he promised not to complain about what he had seen.
Rubinstein heard similar stories from dozens of others – and read about it in the paper, as did many other Israelis, when Ma'ariv ran an expose of the situation in several articles last week. “We have to come up with ways to stop this,” said Rubinstein.
In response, Kleiser said that he congratulated Rubinstein for his comments, “and we hope that the Elections Committee will impose sanctions on the polling places that produce these fake votes.”