Ultra-Orthodox UTJ tracking every last voter from its electorate

The United Torah Judaism Party has 4,000 Election Day campaign volunteers who are able to find out if each and every member of its constituent communities has voted or not.

September 17, 2019 20:13
2 minute read.
United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman gets a briefing at the UTJ election campaign headquarte

United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman gets a briefing at the UTJ election campaign headquarters for the Jerusalem sector on Tuesday morning. (photo credit: JEREMY SHARON)

The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party ran a get-out-the-vote campaign on Tuesday, which was staggering in its level of detail and its ability to track every last voter in the haredi community.

More than 4,000 volunteers for the party across the country are part of this gargantuan effort to reach every ultra-Orthodox voter and make sure he or she has voted.

Members of the community who have not voted will receive phone calls from members of the campaign team urging them to go and vote. A campaign staffer estimated that they would reach 98% of all voters in the haredi sector during the course of the day.

UTJ’s advanced software system shows the real-time turnout out for each community, helping it focus its efforts on getting out the vote in the ultra-Orthodox sector (Photo Credit: Jeremy Sharon)

At the UTJ campaign headquarters for the Jerusalem region, campaign staff explained to The Jerusalem Post how the system works.

Community election managers operate in every synagogue of every ultra-Orthodox community around the country, collecting the voting numbers of every eligible voter in the community.

On Election Day itself, polling station observers from UTJ report electronically in real time every individual who comes to vote, identifying them by their voting number, and those reports go through to a central system that can record the voter turnout for every community.

So as of 10 a.m., the system showed that members of the Gur community were leading voter turnout in the hassidic sector with 26% having voted; the Slonim community was at 18% and Chabad was in last place at 6%.

According to the UTJ director of the communities’ desk for the Jerusalem sector, volunteers at the campaign headquarters would start calling community members who had yet to vote already beginning at 10 a.m.

UTJ has designated callers for each particular community, with more assigned to the bigger communities such as Gur and Viznitz, and less to the smaller ones.

Ultra-Orthodox voters who had not yet voted will first get a call from a member of the campaign team assigned to their community asking them to go vote.

Should they still fail to vote, those voters will receive calls from their community election manager or even their communal rabbi telling them of the imperative to vote for the ultra-Orthodox parties.

Tracking in the hassidic communities is easier than in the non-hassidic “Litvak” communities, given their tight-knit, concentrated nature, with tracking done through synagogues on a geographic basis.

This current election is only the second time UTJ has been able to employ this sophisticated tracking system.

The high level of voter turnout in the ultra-Orthodox sector – often rising above 80% of the ultra-Orthodox electorate compared with a rate of 68% in the general population – is one of the key reasons the ultra-Orthodox parties are able to punch above their weight in electoral power in the Knesset.

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