Polling stations open early at certain IDF bases

Dozens of IDF (Zahal) officers and soldiers have begun voting at special polling stations opened on IDF (Zahal) bases

Date: 20/01/2013, 2:41 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

Polling stations for Israeli elections will officially open to the general public on Tuesday, January 22, but the IDF (Zahal) has already begun to vote. The first polling booth in all of Israel was opened yesterday (Saturday, January 19), at the Camp Rabin (Kirya) base in Tel Aviv, at which dozens of officers and soldiers, who will be prevented from voting on Tuesday due to operational activity, have already voted.

Early voting for the IDF (Zahal) is allowed for by the law which permits special polling stations to open 72 hours earlier than they officially open to the public. Throughout today and tomorrow, additional polling booths will be set up at IDF (Zahal) bases throughout the country. Today, naval soldiers will vote in Haifa and Ashdod, and soldiers from Sayeret Matkal will vote tomorrow in the Judea and Samaria Division and in the Jordan Valley.

In total, 750 special IDF (Zahal) polling stations will be set up throughout the country. Around 4000 soldiers will be called on to operate the polling booths on Election Day –every booth will have a polling committee made up of regular service soldiers.

Polling stations open early at certain IDF bases

Soldier will cast their ballots in a “double envelope” system whereby the actual voting envelope is inserted into an additional envelope with the soldier’s name and details, to ensure no soldier votes more than once. According to the voting procedure, soldiers are required to present their IDF (Zahal), officers’ or national ID card in order to vote. Soldiers serving reserve duty will also be able to vote.

After the polling stations close, the soldiers’ ballots will be transported to Jerusalem, where they will be centrally checked and counted. A civilian polling committee will check the envelopes against the population registry to ensure no double ballots, and immediately thereafter the slips with the soldiers’ details will be destroyed in order to protect their anonymity. Results from previous elections have shown that around 62 percent of soldiers have chosen to vote at military polling stations – a number roughly equivalent to that among the general population. However, it is important to note that the statistics do not include soldiers who elect to cast their ballots at civilian polling stations close to their homes, and thus it may be inferred that the proportion of soldiers choosing to vote is higher than that of the general population.