Senior citizens in nursing homes in Kfar Saba will be able to vote in the
January election without having to leave the institutions, following a request
by Mayor Yehuda Ben-Hamo.
Ben-Hamo sent a letter earlier this week to
Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, chairman of the Central Elections
Committee, asking him to allow elderly people living in nursing homes and
assisted living facilities in Kfar Saba to exercise their right to
“We are talking about thousands of residents who want to exercise
their fundamental democratic right and will not be able to if you do not make
polling station accessible to them,” Ben-Hamo wrote. “It should be noted that
the voting polls in senior housing can also serve all residents in the area
surrounding the facility, which can allow not only residents but also other
citizens who need more accessibility, to vote.”
He explained that many
senior citizens in Kfar Saba had complained to his office about the issue saying
that poll stations were too far from nursing homes and that the distance was
difficult for them to travel.
According to the municipality, there are
other people, including some who are wheelchair-bound for example, who are also
physically unable to get to the regular polling locations by
Following the mayor’s letter, which was the latest step to a
long struggle for the advancement of this matter, the Central Elections
Committee allowed the Kfar Saba Municipality to install stations inside the
assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
“This is an unprecedented
step that respects the thousands of elderly in Israel,” Ben-Hamo told The
Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “To me it is actually fulfillment of the Bible
saying ‘honor the face of the old man,’” he added.
As of now, three
assisted living facilities in the city are set to have polling stations for next
month’s election. Ben-Hamo believes this step will have an impact beyond his
“I am proud of this step and my initiative, which could be paving
the way for seniors and the elderly in other cities to also be able to exercise
their fundamental right as citizens of the state without complications, and I
certainly hope that many of them will actually take advantage of it to the
fullest,” he said.
Voting polls accessibility has been a large area of
concern in Israel ahead of January 2013 as NGOs, such as Access Israel, continue
to advocate for making voting possible for the disabled as well as for people
with special needs.