Military service condition to monitor polling stations revoked
Yesterday (28.8.2019) ACRI appealed to the head of the Central Elections Committee (CEC), Justice Hanan Melcer, demanding that he remove a job posting for polling station monitors on Election Day that includes the requirement that candidates have completed military service. The posting was published by a private security company, which provides security services for the CEC.
"The requirement for military service is irrelevant to the role of electoral oversight," wrote Attorney Gil Gan-Mor, the director of ACRI's Social Rights and Equality Unit. "As such, this requirement is also 'suspected' of being an indirect attempt to avoid the recruitment of workers loyal to demographic groups that they generally don't serve – Haredis and Arabs." Advocate Gan-Mor also added that, like any public authority, the CEC is committed to ensuring the right to equality, and therefore cannot allow for communication with a discriminatory company. He noted that a special caution should be exercised in violating the public's faith in the neutrality of the CEC, as it may appear as if the CEC does not perceive minority groups as eligible to participate in monitoring on Election Day.
Similar inquiries were sent by the Adalah Center, as well as Arab and ultra-Orthodox Knesset members.
On the same day, we received a response from the CEC's Legal Counsel, Mr. Dean Livneh. He noted that the condition for military service was not initiated by the committee, and that after examining the situation with the company, it was determined that the condition be removed. He also noted that the role of the monitor is to secure the voting process, so it was decided that whoever lacks military service could fill the position subject to a basic security course, which is also open to those who did not serve.
Today (29.8.2019) ACRI appealed to the legal counsel of the committee, yet again. ACRI noted that the contract with the security company was made before the head of the committee made his decision, according to which electoral purity monitors would be recruited to film what occurred in polling stations under certain circumstances. ACRI claimed that this new role was a sensitive one, and that it should be filled by all groups and sectors of the population, to maintain public faith in the elections and the neutrality of the CEC. We have sought to reconsider the defined roles of some electoral purity monitors, in a sense that won't require security skills, such that the job will remain open to anyone interested, without the weighty restriction of a security course. We also noted that given the short period of time remaining until Election Day, it is appropriate to strive for adequate representation of Arabs, women, and ultra-Orthodox Jews among monitors through the distribution of some of the positions to such minority groups.
ACRI's appeal to the head of the Central Elections Committee (Hebrew), 28.8.2019
Reply on behalf of the Central Elections Committee's Legal Counsel (Hebrew), 28.8.2019
Second appeal to the Central Elections Committee (Hebrew), 29.8.2019