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Bennett, Shaked call for recount of soldiers’ votes after just missing electoral threshold

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Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett (R), former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (L), March 17, 2019. (Flash90 photo)

The New Right Party, headed by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, demanded a recount of the soldiers’ votes after the party fell just .03 per cent short of the electoral threshold.

The party needs about 1,380 more votes to be lifted to the required 3.25 per cent electoral threshold.

The counting of the so-called double envelope ballots, comprising the votes of soldiers, diplomats working abroad, prisoners and hospital patients, concluded at about 10:30 Thursday morning. There were about 200,000 of them.

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The Central Elections Committee website from Thursday morning indicated that the New Right had squeaked over the electoral threshold by .01 per cent, but the committee later said it was incorrect and that a bug on the website prevented the total from being revised downward.

The committee said it would review all the ballot tallies before announcing the final numbers. It said that the total number of valid votes currently stands at 4,299,822.

“The counting of the double-sealed envelopes has ended … but in light of the race being so tight and the significance of every single vote – which can influence the distribution of Knesset seats – and in order to preserve purity of elections, the Central Elections Committee is examining the process of tallying the votes,” said the elections ruling body in a statement late Thursday morning.

Reports of voter fraud and computer tallying errors began to surface on Wednesday night, including questions about communities with voter turnouts of more than 100 per cent, accusations that some parties’ paper ballots were missing in voting booths, and a high percentage of votes recorded for Arab parties from right-wing Jewish settlements.

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