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THE VOTE THAT CAN DECIDE


discussed this following an appeal after the elections of 1996, and ruled that

the way the law is formulated, blank ballots are not ‘valid’, but it added that

this is not obviously the preferred state-of-affairs, and possibly the

parliament (knesset) should discuss this explicitly.

The

last week, several appeals were submitted again to the high court, concerning

the blank ballots. The court ruled that it is too late to discuss this before

the elections. Still it is reasonable to demand that the required discussion

should take place also after the elections, the same way that discussion of the

interpretation of the elections laws in the US took place after the elections.

Given

the spirit of the law, if Sharon does not get 50 percent of the total number of

votes, including the blank ballots, he has no mandate: His election is based

only on a technical neglect in the formulation of the law. At the moment, the

polls indicate that he might have the required 50%, but in practice, his race

towards the 50%, like that of any candidate in previous elections, is a tight

one. In the polls, at least 5% of the 52% voting for Sharon switch to Peres, in

case he runs. These are not right wing voters, but another segment of the ‘just

not Barak’ voters, who vote Sharon out of no choice, and may still consider

casting a blank ballot instead.

In

a close race, every vote counts.

Many

of the opponents of both Barak and Sharon, are still hesitating between

boycotting the elections (not voting) and voting blank. But only those who vote

can harm Sharon. As far as the law is concerned, there is no way to distinguish

between those who do not vote because they boycott the elections, and those who

do not vote because they ‘don’t care about politics’. The absolute majority

required by the elections law is determined by the number of actual voters.

A

blank ballot vote at this stage, is a vote against Sharon – the vote that can

decide if Sharon will have mandate for war.

 

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