Elections Committee Says No to Cameras in Polling Stations

YERUSHALAYIM -
Chairman of the Central Elections Committee Justice Hanan Melcer.
(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Surveillance cameras will not be allowed at polling places on September 17, chairman of the Central Elections Committee Justice Hanan Melcer ruled on Monday night.

The ruling came in response to complaints over a mass surveillance operation mounted by the Likud party at Arab polling places in the elections last April. Critics charged that the intention was to intimidate Arab voters, while Likud said they were trying to prevent fraud.

Melcer said that no one but Central Elections Committee officials may deploy cameras at polling stations, and warns that doing so may be regarded as a criminal offense. The CEC will have a special unit to monitor such activities in September, he said.

Only the passage of special legislation to allow such surveillance would make it legally possible, Melcer said.

The Likud, which had said it was gearing up for an even larger surveillance effort than the 1,200 activists with body cameras that were out on April 9, said in response that it would consider legislation to permit it before the upcoming vote. The party has reportedly already spent millions of shekels for equipment and training, The Times of Israel reported.