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Knesset Internal Affairs Commitee Head MK Dudi Amsalem (Likud) approved for a second and third reading Coalition Chairman David Bitan's (Likud) proposed bill to place voting booths in nursing homes and hospitals during municipal elections.

If the law passes, nursing homes would receive voting booths in the upcoming municipal elections, and hospitals would receive voting booths in the 2023 general elections. It would not happen in the 2019 elections because the Interior Ministry "needs time to prepare."

The voting booths would be included either in the general list or in the list of disability-accessible voting booths. If they are considered disability-accessible voting booths, even those who are not listed as residents of the institution would be able to vote there.

MK Abdullah Abu Maaruf (Joint Arab List) requested that those who are not residents of nursing homes not be allowed to vote there, to prevent voter fraud.

"That's something for the Central Election Committee to decide," Amsalem told Maaruf. "If there is a school next to the nursing home, and 800 people are voting at the school, it makes sense that some of the voters should be registered at the nursing home instead of at the school."

Regarding the Interior Ministry's request for more time "in order to make the necessary arrangements," Amsalem said, "We made a law allowing prisoners to vote in their prisons. Now, we want to allow residents of nursing homes to vote. The only ones who aren't allowed to vote are those who are ill."

"According to the law, you need to pay for their transportation to the voting booths. You, in the Interior Ministry, are supposed to be serving the residents. We're talking here about the next elections.

"Your request is absurd - no, it's immoral and illogical. How many hospitals does Israel have? Twenty?"

An Interior Ministry representative responded, "According to the information we have, the law would require us to set up 200 voting booths in the various hospitals."

"So it's 200 voting booths out of 40,000," Amsalem responded. "Because of that, a person who has an IV can't vote? Elections are a basic right of civil society. Prisoners are not better citizens than the ill. I agree to delay the placement of voting booths in hospitals until the 2023 elections, so that you'll have less chest pains."