Students at Hadassah college.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The National Union of Israeli Students in collaboration with the Population Authority said on Tuesday it is launching a campaign to issue address changes for students so they may vote nearby on Election Day.
There are more than 300,000 university and college students in Israel, many of whom live in temporary housing far from their parents’ homes where they are legally registered to vote, the student union said. As a result, students are forced to travel to their voting districts to cast ballots, which proves especially difficult for students who live in the periphery where transportation options are limited and distances are great.
As a result, many students forfeit their civic duty and opt not to vote, according to the student union.
The collaboration with the population authority is meant to bypass bureaucracy and enable students to quickly change their addresses ahead of the cutoff date so they can vote near campus.
For one week, beginning January 14, representatives from the authority will be present on campuses of nine academic institutions around the country to issue the address changes. Following the elections, the student union also will assist interested students to quickly change their addresses back to their permanent ones at home.
Representatives will be present at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, University of Haifa, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Ariel University, the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and Tel-Hai Academic College.
“Even though we are working to implement a long-term process and are working to lead to legislation in the field, it is also important for us to find an immediate solution for students who live far away from campus and want to exercise their democratic right,” said Gilad Arditi, chairman of NUIS.
“This initiative shows students all over the country that the student union and student organizations stand behind them and work vigorously to help them and address their needs,” he said.
Last month, Arditi penned a letter to Interior Minister Gilad Erdan calling on him to provide alternative voting solutions for students who live far from their official home addresses.
The student union head emphasized that in most countries, students have the option to vote at their place of study. He called on Erdan to provide such temporary arrangements on campuses for the general election.