Oct 29, 2008 — In anticipation of the upcoming U.S. elections, YU’s S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program hosted a Cast Your Overseas Ballot event at the YU in Israel Campus Oct. 27. The event was co-sponsored by the non-partisan organization, Vote From Israel.
More than 150 students at schools in the Israel program voted, some bringing in sealed ballots for their friends. This was the first time the 18-year-olds voted in a U.S. presidential election.
Several rabbinic students in the RIETS Israel Kollel and their wives also took advantage of the opportunity to vote. Staff from the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program and Vote From Israel were on hand to answer questions and offer instructions. The voters cast their votes from behind makeshift voting booths and submitted exit polls.
“A lot of people would not have voted had YU not done this for us,” said Deena Avner, a student at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim. “It’s exciting to vote for the first time, and cool that you can even vote in Israel.”
During recruitment visits to the schools earlier in the year, the Israel program’s advisors stressed the importance of registering to vote in the elections and distributed registration forms.
“Our staff feels strongly that American students must participate in the democratic process, even from Israel,” said Stephanie Strauss, assistant director of the Israel program. “We are always looking for ways to enhance their year in Israel and we were able to use our energy and resources at YU to support this worthwhile effort.”