Student Union calls on Interior Minister to provide on campus polls on Election Day
Tel Aviv University campus
(photo credit: PR)
Many students end up giving up on the long drive home and forfeit their right to vote, student leader says.
The National Union of Israeli Students penned a letter to Interior Minister Gilad Erdan on Wednesday calling on him to provide alternative solutions for students who live far from their official home addresses.“It cannot be that students will have to jump through hoops in order to get to the polls. We demand to find an immediate solution to those students who because of their place of study are forced to give up their democratic right to vote,” Gilad Arditi, chairman of NUIS, said.There are more than 300,000 university and college students in Israel, many of who live in temporary housing far away from their parents’ home where they are legally registered, the student union said. As a result, on Election Day, students are forced to travel to their voting districts in order to cast ballots. This has proved especially difficult for students who live in the periphery, where transportation options are limited and the distances are great.Therefore, numerous students end up forfeiting their right to vote, Arditi wrote. “Moreover, the date of the election which was scheduled for March 17 will catch many students during their final exam period and therefore they will have very limited time and will be under a lot of pressure,” he added.The student union head emphasized that in most countries, students have the option to vote in their place of study. He called on Erdan to provide such temporary arrangements on campuses for the general election. “It is obvious to us that legislation cannot advance this [request] before the upcoming election, and in the next Knesset we will use our resources to promote the issue and formalize it in legislation, however now the student population demands that you check additional options that would bring more students to the polls,” Arditi wrote.“It is needless to explain the degree of importance attributed to the largest celebration of democracy on Election Day in Israel and especially for the student population, which represents the future generation of the State of Israel in all areas,” he wrote.