Photo by Eitan Elhadaz/TPS on 23 March, 2021

In COVID-19 Times, Israel Makes Voting Possible for Patients, Voters in Quarantine

Politics By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 23 March, 2021

Jerusalem, 23 March, 2021 (TPS) -- Over 600 designated sites with over 800 ballots were established on Election Day on Tuesday to serve Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients and Israelis in quarantine, at an additional cost of these special complexes is NIS 77 million.

Some 40,000 rides organized by the Central Election Committee are transporting COVID-19 patients to polling stations, at a cost of NIS 20 million.

It is estimated that there are about 37,000 patients and about 50,000 Israelis in quarantine with the right to vote on Election Day.

The Central Election Committee has also converted 50 Egged buses to polling stations.

A polling station was installed on each bus, with room for three members of the polling committee, a place for an observer, and a place for the Supervisor of Election Purity.

The polling station-bus is intended to boost polling stations in all 19 regional districts of the Election Commission, to reduce loads in cases of congestion at the polls.

Voters can also cast their ballots in “Vote and Go” stations at a drive-through style polling station for COVID-19 patients.

One such voter told TPS she was moved by the unique opportunity to vote in such a situation and was thankful for the special efforts made so she could exercise her democratic right to cast her ballot.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to vote today. I got a message and couldn’t believe it,” she said.

For the first time in history, a special ballot box will be placed at Ben Gurion Airport for passengers entering Israel and who are required to enter quarantine. Some 2,600 are expected to enter the country on Elections Day.

Votes at these special stations are cast in double envelopes, as are those cast by IDF soldiers. Their counting will take longer these elections due to the increased number of COVID patients, a fact that may delay the announcement of the actual election results.