Likud officials said on Sunday that they believed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would accept an offer to halt electronic voting procedures in Likud’s primaries, opting to continue the elections through casting individual ballots. The proposal was raised by Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, following a day rife with reports of voting computer malfunctions. Problems were reported at locations including Jerusalem’s main polling station — the International Convention Centers, where 80 computerized voting systems were shut down — and at the polling station in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Yad Eliyahu, which was also shut down. Other locations with reported malfunctions were Ramat Gan, Ashdod, Gan Yavne and Mt. Hebron Regional Council.
Likud officials indicated that most of the malfunctions have been fixed by now, and that it was possible to vote in the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv polling stations. However, reports indicated that problems persisted elsewhere. Upon arriving at a polling station in Rishon Letzion, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom was met by angry party activists. Shalom told them that “Netanyahu is stressed.”
Amid continued errors, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar urged the party to cancel Sunday’s vote, saying that “the election process currently taking place is a farce. It must be stopped and held at another time.”
Subsequently, Ya’alon spoke with Netanyahu, offering to stop the computerized elections process and move on to casting individual ballots later this week. Netanyahu is expected to weigh the proposal in the coming hours.
Now, Likud officials are saying Netanyahu could adopt Ya’alon’s plan, stopping computerized voting on Sunday, and allowing all those Likud members who were unable to vote to cast their ballot next week. Anyone who had already voted via computer could not vote again. A decision on the matter should take place in the coming hours.
On Sunday morning, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin personally experienced the polling station issues, when a malfunctioning voting machine caused him to walk out of the station in frustration. He later returned to the station and was eventually able to vote.
“Several people who have come in to vote and were unable to do so decided to leave. What can we do?” asked a voting official at one of the affected stations.