Establish Polling Stations in the Unrecognized Villages
On August 16, 2022, we contacted the Chair of the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee along with Itach-Ma’aki Women Lawyers for Social Justice and The Arab Center for Alternative Planning, demanding that polling stations be placed in the unrecognized villages for the upcoming elections.
Residents of the unrecognized villages are registered in the Population Registry with the address of the tribe to which they belong, and are subsequently supposed to vote at a polling station that serves all individuals registered with the same tribe. This entails driving dozens of kilometers in a private vehicle, or walking several kilometers to a main road and transferring between several buses. Such accessibility challenges and the high cost of travel thwart many from voting, particularly women, youth, and the elderly.
In the petition, Attorneys Hanan Elsana and Ela Alon of Itach Ma'aki, Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo of ACRI, and Dr. Samer Sweid of The Arab Center for Alternative Planning, claimed that the lack of polling stations in the unrecognized villages generates grave discrimination against the residents of these villages and inevitably obstructs their capacity to exercise their democratic right to elect representatives to the Knesset. This situation particularly violates the rights of Bedouin women, an estimated 80% of whom do not exercise their right to vote. This impairs their ability to be represented in decision-making centers, and the likelihood that their needs as a marginalized group based on nationality, gender, peripheral geographic location, and more, will be expressed in the decisions that impact them.
Attached to the organizations' appeal is a map illustrating the distances between the unrecognized villages and the polling centers and a detailed proposal for a solution that places ballot boxes registered under the names of certain tribes in villages inhabited by members of the same tribe.