(Crossposted to Mah Rabu.)

Do we really have to do this again?  I guess we do, don’t we.   We just had September Madness a few months ago, and April Madness before that, but now Israel is (for the first time ever) approaching its third election in less than a year.  So that means we have to hold another Knesset prediction pool.  Maybe everyone is sick of it at this point, but such is the price of democracy.  But you should totally enter the contest even if you’re not feeling it, because if everyone else decides to sit it out, you can win by default!  Do you have opinions about whether this election is going to turn out the same as the previous two, or different?  Here’s a chance to put your money (no actual money required) where your mouth is.

So here’s how it works, yet again:

How to Enter: Go to the March Madness link and put in your predictions for how many seats each of the 30 parties will win.  All predictions must be non-negative integers (0 is allowed), and your predictions must add up to 120. (For reasons discussed below, it is impossible for a party to win 1 or 2 seats, and unlikely that a party will win 3 seats.  However, if you choose to hedge your bets and guess that a given party will win 1, 2, or 3 seats, that is a legal entry in the contest.) Entrance is free, but there is a suggested donation of $10 to the organization of your choice dedicated to making Israel the best it can be. (If you win, feel free to share which organization you chose and why.)  Israeli citizens are encouraged to vote in the actual election as well, and American Jews are encouraged to vote in the World Zionist Congress election.

The Rules (for the real election): The 30 parties have submitted ordered lists of candidates. Here is the full list of candidates in Hebrew, and a list of the parties in English. On election day (March 2), Israeli citizens will go to polling places in and near Israel, and vote for a party (not for individual candidates). All parties that win at least 3.25% of the vote will win seats in the Knesset, proportional to their share of the vote.  For example, suppose the Pirate Party wins 1% of the vote, the Bible Bloc Party wins 33%, and Manhigut Hevratit wins 66%. Then the Pirate Party wins no seats in the Knesset (since they were below the 3.25% threshold), and the other parties will proportionally split the 120 Knesset seats: the Bible Bloc Party gets 40 seats (so the top 40 candidates on its list are elected), and Manhigut Hevratit gets 80 seats. If vacancies arise later in the term, there are no special elections – the next candidate on the party’s list (e.g. #41 on the Bible Bloc Party list) enters the Knesset. It is mathematically possible for all 30 parties to win seats in the Knesset, but many experts consider this unlikely.

The Rules (for the Knesset March Madness pool): The deadline to enter is Sunday, March 1, 2020, at 11:59 pm Israel Time (4:59 pm EST). When the final election results are published, each entry will receive a score based on how many Knesset seats were predicted correctly. For example, suppose the results are as in the above example (Manhigut Hevratit 80, Bible Bloc Party 40). I predicted 60 seats for the Bible Bloc Party, 50 for Manhigut Hevratit, and 10 for KaMaH. Then my score is 90, since I correctly predicted 40 seats for the Bible Bloc Party and 50 seats for Manhigut Hevratit.  The entry with the highest score wins!

Ties will be broken based on two tiebreaker questions:
1) Of the parties that do NOT win seats in the Knesset, which will come closest?
2) Which party will get the FEWEST votes?

The tiebreakers will be resolved in this order: exact match on question 1; exact match on question 2; closest on question 1 (if you picked a party that DOES win seats, you’re out of consideration for this one); closest on question 2.

Maybe we’ll put up a post soon with descriptions of all the parties and links to their websites, or maybe we won’t, because it’s mostly the same as last time.

Good luck!!!!