Nov 26, 2019

Proposed Law: changes to the electoral process

MK Miki Zohar (Likud) has presented to law proposals to the Knesset today for voting. One law is to shorten the amount of time required from the time elections are called until the date elections are actually held. The current law says elections will be held 90 days from the date elections were officially ordered.

Miki Zohar says considering the current circumstances with two elections having passed and still no government is functioning, we need to lessen the amount of time it takes to get a government back up and functioning. Zohar has proposed that elections be held in just 45 days from when elections are called, cutting the campaigning time in half.

I think he could cut it down even more. Most campaigning is done in the last two weeks before the elections anyway. In addition, he should propose cutting down the amount of time given the different nominees to try to form a government. Time and again we see them just wasting a lot of time and playing hard to get and only talking serious in crunch time, in the last few days.

The second proposal Zohar is submitting is to cancel the national holiday status of election day.

Zohar says this is too damaging to the economy, especially when we have had two, and possibly three, elections in one year, and has not been proven to push up the voting percentages.

In actuality, Zohar probably is basing this on the historically higher turnout among Right voters and lower among Left and turning it into a regular workday will discourage people from voting (they will be busy, at work, etc) and the Left might be hurt (in his assumption) more than the Right, giving the right an advantage.

I like the national vacation day. It would be a shame to lose it. Israel has a pretty high voter turnout, so maybe the vacation day does help. Another option would be Liebermans proposal to require citizens to vote, though I am not sure how that works and what happens if someone does not vote and how enforceable this is.

The golden rule is that if a politician wants to make changes to the electoral system, it is somehow only meant to benefit him and his party. Whether my guess/assumption is right or wrong, I am sure Zohar is asking these proposals because he thinks it will help him and the Likud

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11 comments:

  1. Everyone who votes is marked off by the workers at the polling place - so it would be simple to check who didn't vote.
    Nevertheless, the idea of forcing people to vote is ridiculous - if someone doesn't care enough to bother voting on his own, what would we gain by having his vote?

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  2. This post has been included in Nu? What's New in The Jewish Blog World? Check out the company you're with.

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  3. The problem with any electoral reform is that the those who have the power to make the changes are the ones who benefited from the current system.

    Theoretical Example: An American President who won the electoral college but not the popular vote is not going to support scrapping the electoral college. A President who got elected while winning the popular vote is unlikely to prioritize eliminating the electoral college, even if they are in favour of having it scrapped.

    Over the past decade a number of steps have been taken to create a more stable Government; such as making it harder to topple the Government and raising the electoral threshold. These moves benefit the bigger parties in general and specifically helped keep Likud in power. As soon as Bibi realized he might lose votes that he could claim as his (as head of the Right Wing Bibi Bloc) he considered changing course to help those parties get into the Knesset.

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    1. I agree, but the example of the EC is a bit off the point - the President has no part in amending the Constitution.

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    2. Electoral Reform has been an issue in Canada. There are a lot examples that make the same point. Aside from gerrymandering the only type of electoral reform I have heard discussed was the electoral college.

      Liberal Party Pierre Trudeau was elected Prime Minister of Canada in 2015. One of his major campaign promises was that it would be the last election held under the First Past the Post system. A Cabinet position was created for the purpose of completing the job. Consultations were held with citizens. The Government decided a referendum was not necessary to implement the changes. The PM was not happy because his preferred choice of ranked ballots was the not clear choice. Ranked ballots would benefit the Liberals the most because there is a constant issue of strategic voting/vote splitting with the NDP. It was big scandal. The Minister was sacked and the recent election took place under FPTP.

      FPTP the post has a tendency to create majority governments. There has been some demand to adopt a form of Mixed PR (modified version of what we have here). Those who have the power to implement the change are in power because of the FPTP system. There have been a few referendums for switching to Mixed PR. Israel is often sighted as a major fear against the change. The changes were not approved during referendums.

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    3. Should that be: The PM was not happy because his preferred choice of ranked ballots was NOT the clear choice?

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    4. Should that be: The PM was not happy because his preferred choice of ranked ballots was NOT the clear choice?

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  4. I always thought the national holiday is a waste. However there is a law waiting to be mplemented that allowas for 4 Sundays a year to become work free days, but it is bogged down in the Knesset for years, s election day is a good compromise.
    Regarding compulsory voting, I am not so sure. In authoratarian regimes, I imagine it is compulsory, but in a free democracy. I could forsee a situation, that if you vote, you get a slip to give to your work in order to get paid for the day. No vote, no slip, no money

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    Replies
    1. 4 sundays a year can be switched to 4 tuesdays a year and those will be election days

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  5. Australia has compulsory voting, I think you can be subject to a fine if you are in the country on election day but do not vote. No idea how much it is enforced.

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