Yesterday I had the privilege of being an observer at one of the polling places in our city for the local municipal elections. After all of the voter fraud stories coming from the US, I took special note of all of the safeguards that are in place to prevent it here in Israel.

Each citizen has an ID number (roughly equivalent in the US to one’s social security number.) Each person above the age of 16 carries an identity card with his/her picture. This identity card is supplied by the Interior Ministry which also keeps on file every person’s legal address. Before each election, every citizen gets in the mail a voting card that tells him/her where his/her polling place is. Except for soldiers, there are no absentee ballots. No one votes early and everyone must vote at his/her polling place which has a list of all of those permitted to vote in that district. There are at least three other people in the room when the voting is taking place. One takes the identity card, calls out the person’s name and voting number on their list, and marks through the name. A second, with a duplicate list may do the same. A third has stickers with each voting number on them and removes the corresponding sticker from the sheet where they were printed and places it on another sheet that has the numbers in order of people’s appearance at the polls. Another person checks off the number of the voter on a chart to ensure that the same number is not used more than once. Voting is done one at a time behind a carton that is set up at a distance form the observers. Behind the cardboard partition, there are a number of white papers– one for each party with the party letters written on them. One is placed in the white envelope. In addition, there are a number of yellow papers, each with the name of a mayoral candidate, and one is placed in the yellow envelope. When finished, the voter places both envelopes (in full view of those working and observing in the room) into a slot in a cardboard box. Observers, appointed by the parties running for city council, are able to check periodically to make sure that all of the printed ballot materials are arranged properly and that there are sufficient notes with each party and candidate’s name.

As I watched the people come in to vote, one by one, I was struck with how seriously Israelis take elections and how it was a very orderly process. We may be the homeland of people from all over the globe who speak different languages and have different customs, but come election day, we all are Israelis. And we should be very proud of this process. This is something that our country knows how to do right!

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