Mandelblit Balks on Cameras in Arab Polling Places

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit ruled Tuesday that placing cameras at polling stations in the Arab sector to ensure that voters do not cheat is impossible without legislation – shooting down a Likud demand that the cameras be placed in voting booths in the Arab sector, where the party says voter fraud is rife. The Likud slammed the decision, saying that it will further encourage voter fraud and skew the results of the next election, as it has in past in past elections.

Mandelblit was asked to rule on the matter by the Central Elections Committee after the Likud made the request several weeks ago. The only way such cameras could be installed would be through Knesset legislation, but passing such a law just weeks before the elections would be “problematic,” he said in his opinion.

One of the options suggested by the Likud was the stationing of police with attached vest-lapel cameras at polling stations, but police already rejected that idea, saying that it would not be feasible to station officers equipped with the cameras at polling stations throughout the voting day, which extends to 10 p.m. Mandelblit’s opinion also rejects this option.

In a previous opinion, Mandelblit said that placing the cameras would interfere with the right of voters to carry out their civic right.

In a statement, the Likud said that “the opinion is unacceptable. The Likud has asked to check the results of hundreds of polling places in the Arab sector from the last election where fraud was suspected, and nothing has been checked yet. Now, they are trying to prevent even basic supervision of polling places, leading to a situation where democracy and the purity of the election process will be harmed. We cannot accept this.”