Voting in Israel – Sometimes the Old Fashioned Ways are Best

I voted already, have you? Even though I have voted a number of times already in Israel I am always affected the same way. I feel proud to be here and I feel it is a privilege to vote and take part in the democratic process, as “flawed” as it is. I say flawed because I do not agree with the parliamentary system and I feel that the fact that there are so many parties makes it harder for the leaders to do what they are elected to do.

The technical voting process is very telling also. Everyone needs to produce ID (no-one claims this is discriminatory, imagine that?) and gets a paper envelope, which has been checked by two poll workers to make sure it is official and empty. Then the voter goes behind a screen and needs to pick from a variety of paper slips with the names of the political parties. If someone puts more than one slip into the envelope, the vote is disqualified. The voter seals the envelope and then comes out from the screen and puts the envelope into a box.

Two interesting points: All of the slips with the names of political parties are in Hebrew only. There are no pictorial symbols – just the two or three letters that signify the party, with the name of the party spelled out underneath, and the name of the leader of the party. Even though Israel is a country of immigrants and minorities, there is an expectation of a minimal amount of literacy in the Hebrew language in order to vote (granted, remembering two or three letters is not that hard, but still…)

In addition, the votes are done manually with slips of paper! This is in a country where high technology permeates every facet of life. I guess that although it takes a bit longer to count paper slips than it would to have computerized voting, this way it is both more accessible to everybody and it is harder to cheat. We have enough to fight about in Israel – at least we don’t fight about if the vote was rigged!


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