The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Adalah – has sent a letter to the Central Elections Committee Chairman, Judge Hanan Meltzer, and Interior Minister, Aryeh Deri, demanding them to guarantee the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Negev to vote.
The letter explained that thousands of Arab-Israeli citizens who live in 11 unrecognised Bedouin villages in the Negev desert do not have access to public transportation and are forced to travel as far as 50 kilometres to exercise their right to vote. Many do not have any means of transportation.
Adalah said lack of access to public transportation, is one of the reasons for the low turnout which did not exceed 42 per cent in the previous elections.
According to the letter, all the villages have public buildings that provide various public services, which can be used to place the ballot boxes.
In the letter, Adalah emphasised that failure to place ballot boxes in these villages constitutes a flagrant violation of the right to vote which is a basic and constitutional right.
The letter also noted that according to the law, the Central Elections Committee must provide public transportations to voters so they can reach polling stations. However, in the last elections, Adalah demanded transportation be provided, but the request was rejected under the pretext that public transportation is free on this day. The centre pointed out that although public transportation is free on election days, they do not pass near the villages and so insufficient services are provided for the Bedouins.