Central Election Committee Chairman fails to cite actual law prohibiting
camera at polling station , adopts" shutting the stable door after the horse
has bolted" approach
Dr. Aaron Lerner 27 August, 2019
Giora Fordes, spokesperson for the Central Election Committee, told IMRA
this morning that the Election Law does not explicitly prohibit the
placement of cameras at polling stations.
A review of the Ruling of Central Election Committee Chairman Hanan Melcer
26 August 2019
find that the 38 page documents never actually cites an explicit prohibition
of the placement of cameras in the law.
Instead Chairman Melcer argues that the cameras are prohibited since the law
does not specifically allow them.
Chairman Melcer prohibits the a priori use of cameras in his decision.
In the event of an incident threatening the "purity of the election"
Chairman Melcer gives what might be termed a "shutting the stable door after
the horse has bolted" approach:
The following is my translation:
"Second situation: A photo or recording at the time of voting when a
reasonable suspicion of harm to the purity of the election arises
82. At the time of the vote, when there is reasonable suspicion in the eyes
of any of the members of the ballot committee (including the secretary of
the ballot committee), to the detriment of the purity of the elections, it
is appropriate, in my opinion, to allow them to call the police or the
Central Election Commission and ask their representatives to come
immediately. Only if the police, or the Central Election Commission cannot
respond to the request, can the secretary of the ballot committee, with the
prior approval of the chair of the Central Election Committee or anyone
authorized by him, document via his cellphone the occurrence, provided that
the documentation products (photography or recording) will not be passed on
to anyone else but the police, or the prosecutor's office or the chairman of
the Central Election Commission, or the attorney general."
Observation: Central Election Committee Chairman Opts to facilitate fraud
Dr. Aaron Lerner 26 August, 2019
Central Election Committee Chairman Hanan Melcer ruled to bar the use of
cameras or even sound recordings in polling stations.
To be clear: we aren't talking about cameras with a view inside the voting
Here is how a polling station is supposed to work in Israel:
Each voter enters the room and hands over their government issued photo ID
card to a member of the team running that voting station.
The person's name and ID number is called out and a line is drawn across
their listing in the voting station printout.
Take note: the voter never has to say a word so their voice would NOT
recorded - the recording would be of someone running the voting station
calling out information that is ON THE PRINTOUT!
The voter is handed an envelope signed by two poll observers, takes it
behind the screen and picks the slip of their chosen party, puts the slip in
the envelope and the returns to puts the envelope into the sealed voting
Two arguments have been raised against cameras. One is that it is
intimidating and the other a violation of privacy.
Frankly speaking, its hard to follow why it is intimidating to record that
people voted. After all, there is nothing stopping someone from recording
who enters the building where the polling station is located.
The privacy issue is trickier.
A camera recording the calling out of the name and ID numbers of voters
along with their faces would create a face-name-ID data base.
There would certainly be a place for strict rules to prevent this
information from leaking out of the system as well as provisions to destroy
the recordings as quickly as possible.
Yes, the privacy issue is trickier - but the VALUE of the recordings in
securing the voting process should take priority.
A key element of voting fraud is stuffing of the ballot box.
A continuous recording of the voting process would seriously deter attempts
to stuff the ballot box by poll workers and people attempting to come in
multiple times to vote in the name of others.
Melcer's ruling was not made in a vacuum. There were problems in the last
Some of those involved in the voting system argue that voting fraud has no
impact on the outcome since it is swamped by the large number of voters.
That's an assertion that ignores how election results in our multi-party
system can readily create situations in which literally a handful of votes
can determine how many seats a party has.
Hopefully, the Likud Party initiative to somehow pass a law permitting
recording of the voting process in the coming days succeeds.
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